Eighteen elderly care home residents in Belgium have died of contracting coronavirus following a visit from Santa Claus.
A Santa Claus impersonator visited the Hemelrijck home in Mol, a town in Antwerp province earlier in December 2020 after which scores of residents at the nursing home were infected with the virus.
It is yet unclear whether his visit was the cause of the outbreak, which authorities are still looking into. The city council said on Christmas Eve that 13 residents had died at the care home, after being infected with coronavirus. Five more later died at the nursing home, Mol’s mayor Wim Caeyers said.
On Christmas Eve, Mol city council said a total of 121 residents at the Hemelrijck nursing home had tested positive for Covid-19, and the number showing serious symptoms was increasing.
Six more members of staff had also tested positive for the virus. “The residential care centre will face a very difficult period in the next seven to ten days,” the council said in a statement on the local coronavirus situation on Christmas Eve.