‘Super-spreader’ who infected 11 revealed
The British businessman dubbed a "super-spreader" of the coronavirus has spoken out and says he's fully recovered from the deadly disease.
Brighton man Steve Walsh was diagnosed with coronavirus after visiting Singapore for a work conference where he is believed to have contracted it from a Wuhan man.
The salesman for gas company Servomex then went on a skiing holiday with friends where he spread the virus to at least 11 people including a nine-year-old boy.
After noticing symptoms Mr Walsh said he went to hospital where he remains in isolation.
"I would like to thank the NHS for their help and care - While I have fully recovered, my thoughts are with others who have contracted coronavirus," the father and Scout leader said in a statement on Tuesday.
"As soon as I knew I had been exposed to a confirmed case of coronavirus I contacted my GP, NHS 111 and Public Health England.
"I was advised to attend an isolated room at hospital, despite showing no symptoms, and subsequently self-isolated at home as instructed.
"When the diagnosis was confirmed I was sent to an isolation unit in hospital, where I remain, and, as a precaution, my family was also asked to isolate themselves.
"I also thank friends, family and colleagues for their support during recent weeks and I ask the media to respect our privacy."
Mr Walsh contracted the disease at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Singapore and then travelled to Les Contamines-Montjoie with friends, named as Bob and Catriona Saynor.
Bob Saynor and his nine-year-old son are both in a French hospital. Meanwhile Mr Walsh returned to the UK on an EasyJet flight and visited a local pub in Hove, The Grenadier.
A Servomex spokesman said: "We are very pleased that Steve Walsh has made a full recovery. We continue to provide support to him and his family.
"We are working with Public Health authorities to ensure the welfare of our staff and communities and wish anyone with the virus a quick and full recovery."
Dr Andrew Freedman, an expert in infectious diseases at Cardiff University, told The Sun: "It does appear the index case has passed on the infection to an unusually large number of contacts.
"As such, he could be termed a 'super-spreader'.
"This may occur as a result of someone being infectious despite having few or no symptoms, meaning they are unaware they have the infection.
"It can also result from someone coming into close contact with an unusually large number of people or someone carrying a larger than normal quantity of the virus."
On Monday England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty announced another four cases in the UK, taking the total to eight.
Two of those diagnosed are GPs at a local practice, the County Oak Medical Centre, in Brighton which has closed following the local outbreak for a "deep clean".
Staff at a local primary school are also "self-isolating" because of contact with those infected.
"The new cases are all known contacts of a previously confirmed UK case, and the virus was passed on in France," Mr Whitty said.
"Experts at Public Health England continue to work hard tracing patient contacts from the UK cases. They successfully identified these individuals and ensured the appropriate support was provided.