It was supposed to make the residents of a retirement home in Belgium happy at Christmas time – but it brought the corona virus into their home. After the Nikolaus visit, 26 residents of a nursing home died of a Covid-19 infection.
The man disguised as Santa Claus was a carrier of the corona virus, but was not aware of his infection, as the Flemish health authorities announced on Thursday. It was only later tested positive.
169 people are currently housed in the old people’s home in the province of Antwerp, as an employee of the AFP news agency said. 85 residents and 40 employees were infected with the corona virus.
St. Nicholas paid the residents a visit on December 5th, and the corona outbreak was noticed a few days later. The virologist Marc Van Ranst indicated that the majority of those infected in the nursing home were infected “from the same source”.
However, the spokesman for the Flemish health authority, Joris Moonens, emphasized that there was “no certainty” that St. Nicholas had infected the residents.
The old people’s and nursing homes in Belgium are particularly badly affected by the corona crisis: 11 066 home residents have died with the corona virus since the pandemic began. That corresponds to around 57 percent of all deaths in the country.
In November, the human rights organization Amnesty International accused the Belgian government of “neglecting” homes for the elderly during the pandemic.