Over 70 people test positive for COVID-19 at a nursing home in Belgium after a visit from a man dressed up as Santa Claus

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This picture taken on November 8, 2020 shows a Santa Claus figurine photographed among surgical masks in Paris, as France is on a second lockdown aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus . JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

  • More than 70 people were infected with coronavirus at a nursing home in Belgium after a recent visit from a man dressed up as Santa Claus, CNN reported. 

  • Fourteen employees and 61 residents tested positive for the virus. Of those infected, one resident died as a result of the outbreak in the home, according to CNN. 

  • “It was made with the best intent, but it went wrong,” Wim Caeyers, Mayor of Mol, told VRT News. “It has been a very black day for the care home. 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”.

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More than 70 people tested positive for the coronavirus after a recent visit from Santa Claus at a nursing home in Belgium, according to multiple reports. 

As CNN reported, the man who dressed up as Santa Claus and is a relative of one of the residents at the home tested positive for the virus after visiting Hemelrjick care home in Mol-a municipality located within Antwerp province in Belgium- last week. Local officials told CNN that the municipal crisis center was not notified about Santa’s visit and that it would not have been authorized if the heads up was given. 

Seventy-five people were infected with the virus including 14 employees and 61 residents of the home, according to the report. One resident has reportedly died as a result of the outbreak, but most are not showing severe symptoms, CNN reported. 

“It has been a very black day for the care home. 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,”  Wim Caeyers, Mayor of Mol, told VRT News. 

According to 9 News, Mol authorities originally stated that during the visit, the man dressed as Santa and the residents were in “communal areas” and followed safety guidelines like social distancing and wearing “face coverings.”

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However, Mayor Caeyers said  “photos from the families of residents” suggested otherwise, according to VRT News. 

“We received incorrect information from the management,” Mol authorities told  The Brussels Times on Saturday. “We deeply regret that. After looking at several photos, we have to conclude that this goes much further than an error of judgment. Rather, this is a case of totally irresponsible management.”

A representative of Armonea, the company that manages the home, told the publication that they are “motivated” to overcome the virus. The outbreak is under investigation by Mol authorities, according to The Brussels Times.

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