You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Spain Covid: 68 medics infected after Christmas party

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 7/12/2021 Chris Pleasance for MailOnline
MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Dozens of medics from the same Spanish hospital have tested positive for Covid after attending a Christmas party last week.

In total, 68 doctors and nurses from the intensive care team at Malaga's University Regional Hospital have tested positive for the virus following a meal for 173 people at a nearby restaurant on December 1.

Another 12 cases linked to the outbreak were confirmed by Andalusia's public health body on Tuesday, bringing the total to 80, but officials said this group includes non-hospital staff such as relatives of the infected medics. 

It is not yet clear which variant of the virus is responsible for the outbreak. Spain has confirmed cases of Omicron including at least one person with no overseas travel history, but none so-far in Andalusia.

( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Hospital bosses say all staff who attended the party had been fully vaccinated against Covid, and all had tested negative on an antigen test before the event. 

The first staff presented with symptoms on Friday evening and Saturday morning, when they were tested using a PCR.

When the tests came back positive, all their close contacts were isolated and given mandatory PCR tests.

Some of those tests are still being processed, with health officials warning the case total could still rise further. 

All those infected - most of whom work in the intensive care unit - either have mild symptoms, including coughing or joint pain, or are asymptomatic.

Spain has double-jabbed around 80 per cent of its total population against Covid, without compelling anyone to get the vaccine. 

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned people to remain vigilant against the coronavirus over Christmas.

'We must not lower our guard,' he told journalists in Madrid.

Health authorities in Andalusia have recommended staff at other public and private hospitals do not attend Christmas parties.

Four cases of the Omicron variant have meanwhile been confirmed in Spain's Balearic Islands, health authorities there said.

( © Provided by Daily Mail (

A father arrived in the Balearic islands recently and infected two members of his family and a fourth person recently arrived in Spain from South Africa, officials said.

Other cases have been confirmed in Madrid, the capital, and Catalonia, the region where Barcelona is located.

So-far there has only been one confirmed case of domestic transmission, in a fully-vaccinated 62-year-old in Madrid.

The Omicron variant first emerged in southern Africa in late November, and preliminary data has shown that it is likely more infectious than the Delta variant.

Cases in South Africa, which has the most-advanced testing capabilities in the region, have been increasing rapidly since the variant was first identified.

Hospital admissions have also increased though have not kept pace with previous waves, suggesting Omicron is less potent than its predecessors.

However, given its increased infectiousness and apparent ability to infect even vaccinated people, medics warn hospitals could still become overwhelmed if no measures are taken to try and stop it.

Dr Fareed Abdullah, an infectious disease doctor at the Steve Biko hospital in Pretoria which is at the centre of the current outbreak, told the Financial Times: 'My colleagues and I have all noticed high number of patients [do not require oxygen]. 

'You walked into a Covid ward any time in the past 18 months . . . you could hear the oxygen whooshing out of the wall sockets, you could hear the ventilators beeping . . . but now the vast majority of patients are like any other ward.'

Read more

More From Daily Mail

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon