Santa Claus, a ‘super spreader’ who visited a nursing home, has been accused of infecting hundreds of patients with coronavirus.
The large outbreak in Belgium has reportedly seen a positive Covid-19 test for 75 residents, including 14 staff members.
Officials are now investigating in Mol, Antwerp.
According to Sky News, a man dressed as Father Christmas visited the Hemelrijck residential home for Christmas just over a week ago.
Later, however, St Nick became unwell and tested positive for the virus.
As a result, officials began testing people at home.
Care home staff are said to have hoped the visit would raise the morale of residents.
It was named a ‘vert black day for the care home’ by Wim Caeyers, the mayor of Mol.
He told the VRT channel: “It was made with the best of intentions, but it went wrong.”
“For the man who played Saint Nicholas, as well as for the organisers and the staff, it is a very big mental strain to bear.”
He added that during the coming week it would be all hands on deck” to keep the virus under control.
Tackling the outbreak will be supported by the Red Cross, the Governor of the Province of Antwerp, and council staff.
In Mol, the municipal authorities said that he had “visited different communal areas, such as the sitting room.”
“They said in a statement: “He maintained his distance from the residents and wore a covering over his forehead.
“The residents were wearing face coverings as well.”
But photos that VRT got hold of allegedly showing residents without face masks on.
Mr. Caeyers believed that initially, the care home had said that the rules had been followed.
But pictures of residents’ families indicate, he said, “that this was not the case.”
Jannes Verheyen, the spokesman for Armonea, the company that operates the building, said There’s no point in condemning people.”
“What happened is very shocking to the team, but that also makes them very motivated to get the virus out again.”