A Mallorca man who infected 22 people with Covid-19 has been arrested on suspicion of assault for going to work and the gym despite signs he had the virus, police have said.

Officers on the Spanish island began investigating at the end of January after an outbreak in the town of Manacor, following reports an employee had “become infected but hidden his illness”, a statement said on Saturday.

Days before the outbreak was detected, he began to show symptoms causing his colleagues concern but did not want to go home.

At the end of the day, he went for a PCR test but did not wait for the result, returning the next day to his job and also going to his local gym.

At work, both the manager and staff insisted he go home because he could be infecting everyone, later telling police he had a temperature of over 40C (104F).

But he ignored them and spent the day walking around his workplace, deliberately lowering his mask when he coughed and taunting them by saying: “I’m going to infect you all with coronavirus,” police said.

When his PCR result came through at the end of the day, it was positive, causing alarm among his colleagues who were also tested. Five of them tested positive, and they in turn infected several of their family members, including three one-year-old babies.

At the gym, three people who had been in direct contact with him were also infected and passed on the virus to family members.

Police said his actions resulted in a total of 22 infections, although none required hospital treatment. The man has been arrested on suspicion of assault.

This content first appear on the guardian

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