Santa Presents Belgian Covid-19 Care Home: 75 People Injured After ‘superspreader’ Wore Father Christmas Costume To Visit Residents
- Santa is welcomed into a nursing home of 150 residents in Mall town of Antwerp
- Three days after he tested positive for Covid-19, raising concerns in the care home
- Since then, 61 elderly and 14 employees have been tested positive. An oxygen resident
- Santa Claus was said to be full of regret, and the mayor called the house “totally irresponsible”
Santa Claus has left 75 nursing homes and staff infected with Covid-19 in Belgium.
Centriclass and his black-faced assistants known as Zwarte Piet (‘Black Pete’) were welcomed to spread the joy of Christmas among the population of 150.
But Santa Fe was blamed for “ spreading ” the deadly virus to 61 seniors and 14 other employees at the Hemilrejk nursing home in the Mall, Antwerp, last week.
At least one of the population was treated with oxygen.
Father Christmas fell ill and tested positive for Covid-19 three days after the visit, prompting health officials to start testing at home.
The volunteer dressed as a Sinterklaas was welcomed to spread Christmas cheer among the 150 residents of the Hemilrejk nursing home in Mall, Antwerp, last week (Pictured: Residents enjoy wine and oranges as Santa and his aides Zwarte Piet (‘Black Pete’) visiting the house)
The house claimed that social distancing was observed, but the Centriclass family was photographed standing near elderly residents.
Santa and his aides spoke with residents of the nursing home last week. His aides wear black face and dress as Zwarte Piet (‘Black Pete’), a controversial traditional figure in the Netherlands and parts of Belgium
Mayor Wim Caires told local media: “It was a very black day for a nursing home.
Who is the “Black Beat”?
The character first appeared in the 1850 book by Amsterdam School teacher Jan Schenkmann.
Those who portray Zwarte Piet usually wear black face makeup and colorful Renaissance clothing, as well as curly wigs, red lipstick, and earrings.
Opponents say images like these promote racial stereotypes, while supporters defend Sinterklaas’ assistant, the Dutch white-bearded, red-bearded version of Saint Nicholas, as a traditional children’s figure.
“It’s a very big mental pressure to bear for the man who played Saint Nicholas, as well as for the organizers and the staff.”
But photos of the event showed that not all residents were wearing masks and that Santa and his young aides were standing two meters away from the elderly.
‘At the start,’ said Mr. Caires [the care home] He said the rules were followed, but then you immediately receive photos from residents’ families where you can see that this was not the case.
His management described the care home as a “completely irresponsible organization”.
The mayor said it would be “ everything ready ” to get the virus under control, with the help of local health workers, the Red Cross and the governor of Antwerp, after the crisis talks on Sunday.
A spokesperson for Armonea, the company that runs the house, said, “The team is very shocked by what happened, but that also makes them very excited to get the virus out again.”
However, a senior Belgian virologist expressed doubts that the Santa Claus volunteer might have caused so many infections.
“Even for super-diffuser, this is too many infections at once,” said Mark Van Ranst, of KU Leuven.
Father Christmas talking to an elderly resident. It appears that he and his assistant are standing more than two meters away from her
Hemelrijck Nursing Home in Mall, Antwerp, operated by Armonea
It is believed that poor ventilation is the most likely cause and that the carbon dioxide measurements should be taken by local health officials.
However, he added that visiting Santa Claus during the pandemic was a “stupid idea”.
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