At least 26 residents of a Belgian retirement home at the Hemelrijck home in Mol, near Antwerp, have died since a visit by a volunteer dressed as Saint Nicholas who has since tested positive for Covid-19. 85 more have tested positive for coronavirus along with 40 staff..The man dressed as Saint Nicholas, or Sinterklaas, offered gifts to the old Belgians every 6 December. Residents had not been wearing masks during the visit. „After looking at several photos, we have to conclude that this goes much further than an error. Rather, it is a completely irresponsible event. We would never have approved this,” the municipality said in a statement.
Marc Van Ranst, a prominent virologist, has reported on Twitter that most of the infections came from the same source. There is no suggestion the volunteer knew he was infected. Belgium has one of the highest per capita coronavirus death tolls in the world. No inquiry has been launched in the absence of a formal complaint. The Mol municipality said “the event was not coordinated with the crisis cell,” and if they had heard about it beforehand they would have stopped it.