75 get COVID-19 after ‘Santa Claus’ visited Belgian care home—reports
A visit from a man dressed as Santa Claus for the holiday season went sour after he turned out to be COVID-19 positive, supposedly infecting at least 75 people at a care home in Antwerp, Belgium, last week.
While the intention was good, the Santa Claus has been labeled as a “super-spreader” as 61 elderly residents and 14 staff members of the Hemelrijck care home in Mol have contracted the novel coronavirus since his visit, as per Belgium’s national broadcaster VRT on Dec. 13.
“It was made with the best intent, but it went wrong. It has been a very black day for the care home,” Mayor Wim Caeyers was quoted as saying.
“It is a very great mental strain to bear for the man that played Saint Nicholas, as well as for the organizers and the staff,” he added.
Caeyers also stressed that the care home should have communicated the issue more openly, noting that the staff said “the rules have been followed,” but photos from the families of residents showed “that this wasn’t the case.”
The man who dressed as Santa Claus reportedly fell ill three days after the visit and tested positive for COVID-19, as per Daily Mail yesterday, Dec. 14. Photos retrieved by the British newspaper showed that COVID-19 protocols were not strictly followed during the visit.
Some photos showed Santa and his “little helpers” stood within two meters from the elderly residents while not all of them wore face masks.
Caeyers also said that the government will be “all hands on deck” to contain the situation with the help of the Red Cross, local health workers and the governor of Antwerp. Ian Biong /ra
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.