A visit from Saint Nicholas turned into a super-spreader event at a Belgian nursing home, leaving at least 59 residents and 14 staff members infected with COVID-19, according to multiple reports.
Authorities in Mol are trying to bring the situation at the Hemelrijck care home under control as infections are still continuing to spread within the facility, according to a Sunday VRT News report. Mol Mayor Wim Caeyers told the outlet the visit from Santa, which happened the previous weekend, was an event with positive intent that “went wrong.” (RELATED: Scientists Hope Frankensteining Russian, English Vaccines Together Will Be More Effective)
— New York Post (@nypost) December 14, 2020
The visiting Santa was reportedly determined to be the source of the spread. Caeyers told the outlet that the applicable protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the event were not followed. “Initially they said that the rules had been followed, but then straight away you receive photos from the families of residents where you can see that this wasn’t the case.”
The nursing home outbreak comes as Europe is in the midst of its worst spread of the virus since the initial wave in the spring, prompting renewed lockdowns and restrictions across the continent. In Belgium, a recent report found that 2020 has been the deadliest year in the country since World War II.