Chilean health officials are left stunned after a birthday party for a cat led to more than a dozen people contracting Covid-19.
The feline focused festivities took place at the cat owner's home in Santo Domingo, Chile.
The owner, who is thought to be 'patient zero', is reported to have invited 10 people to her home to celebrate the cat's big day.
Francisco Alvarez, Valparaiso regional secretary of the Ministry of Health (SEREMI) has reportedly confirmed the events surrounding the cluster, although admitted he was initially sceptical.
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"When I heard it was a cat's birthday party I thought it was a joke, that they were probably trying to hide something, but indeed it was," Alvarez told local Chilean station Radio Bio-Bio. He added: "We have corroborated it with at least six of the 15 [infected] people who told us the same thing."
In addition to the guests at the birthday celebration who contracted the virus, Newsweek has confirmed that five additional family members and friends of the attendees had also been infected.
The small gathering took place despite firm warnings against socialising without the use of proper protection, including face masks. Secretary Alvarez was quick to voice his disappointment that unnecessary gatherings such as this one were still taking place during the pandemic.
"It's complicated and it's a little incomprehensible, especially considering that what we have said in every way and emphasised is that if people are going to meet, they need to take safety measures," Alvarez told local newspaper La Segunda.
According to the New York Times coronavirus database, as of Monday, January 25, at least 703,178 people in Chile have tested positive for Covid-19, while nearly 18,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus.
At this stage it does not appear that the cat has been infected.