Nearly 70 doctors in Spain contract COVID-19 after Christmas party
Dozens of staff at a Spanish hospital, including nurses and intensive care doctors, have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a Christmas party last week, health officials said on Monday, urging the country’s prime minister to urge caution.
The regional hospital in Malaga, a city on the southern coast of Spain, said 170 staff members attended a Christmas party at a restaurant on December 1. Since then, 68 staff, including nurses and intensive care doctors, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Reuters and the Associated Press (AP).
Health officials said they were investigating the source of the infection, but added that all 68 people attended a Christmas party attended by 173 people.
Those who contracted COVID-19 all underwent antigen testing or the third vaccination booster before attending the party, health officials said.
Another possible source of the infection could have been a large meal for hospital staff, authorities said. People who were infected showed mild symptoms.
Andalusia’s health authorities have recommended that staff from other public and private hospitals not attend Christmas parties.
Spain’s prime minister urged people on Monday to “remain cautious” about COVID-19 during the holidays.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was quoted by the PA as telling reporters the Spaniards cannot “let their guard down” as the coronavirus continues to spread, despite fewer cases and less hardship for health services than around the same time last year.
The province of Andalusia, where Malaga is located, has recently seen an increase in cases. Its 14-day infection rate is 136 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Across Spain, that rate stood at 248 last Friday.
Meanwhile, four cases of the omicron variant have been confirmed in Spain’s Balearic Islands, health authorities said.
A father recently arrived in the Balearic Islands and infected two family members and a fourth person who recently arrived in Spain from South Africa, authorities said.
Spain has confirmed a total of nine cases of the omicron variant, according to the health ministry.