MADRID (Reuters) – Nearly 70 nurses and doctors working in the intensive care unit of a Spanish hospital have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a Christmas party, health officials said on Monday.
Sixty-eight doctors from the Regional University Hospital of Malaga have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, the Andalusian regional government has announced.
Health officials said they were investigating the source of the infection, but added that the 68 people all attended a Christmas party on December 1 in which 173 people were in attendance.
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.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has warned people to stay vigilant against the coronavirus this Christmas.
“We must not let our guard down,” he told reporters in Madrid.
Andalusian health authorities have recommended that staff from other public and private hospitals not attend Christmas celebrations.
Meanwhile, four cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in Spain’s Balearic Islands, health authorities have 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 had previously confirmed a total of five cases of the Omicron variant.
(Reporting by Graham Keeley, Elena Rodriguez; Editing by Nick Macfie)