Coronavirus outbreak: SITUATION GLOBALLY

Coronavirus: Briton passed virus to 11 in journey from Singapore to UK via French Alps

Some employees at The Grenadier pub at Hove, East Sussex, which businessman Steve Walsh (right), 53, visited before he was hospitalised, have been isolated. Mr Walsh, a father of two children, remains in hospital, and his family members have been iso
Some employees at The Grenadier pub at Hove, East Sussex, which businessman Steve Walsh, 53, visited before he was hospitalised, have been isolated. Mr Walsh, a father of two children, remains in hospital, and his family members have been isolated as a precaution.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Some employees at The Grenadier pub at Hove, East Sussex, which businessman Steve Walsh (right), 53, visited before he was hospitalised, have been isolated. Mr Walsh, a father of two children, remains in hospital, and his family members have been iso
Some employees at The Grenadier pub at Hove, East Sussex, which businessman Steve Walsh (above), 53, visited before he was hospitalised, have been isolated. Mr Walsh, a father of two children, remains in hospital, and his family members have been isolated as a precaution.

Businessman who caught virus while attending conference here now in isolation after recovery

LONDON • A British businessman who became known as a "super spreader" of the coronavirus said yesterday he had fully recovered but remained in isolation in a Central London hospital.

Mr Steve Walsh issued a statement from Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital after catching the virus on a business trip to Singapore.

He is believed to have infected at least 11 other Britons - five in a ski chalet in the French Alps and another five who have since returned to his home city of Brighton on England's south-east coast.

Another person was diagnosed while on vacation in Spain.

Mr Walsh said he contacted Britain's state-run National Health Service (NHS) as soon as he realised he might be sick.

"As soon as I knew I had been exposed to a confirmed case of coronavirus, I contacted my GP," the 53-year-old said. "I was advised to be in an isolation room at hospital, despite showing no symptoms, and subsequently self-isolated myself at home as instructed," he added.

"When the diagnosis was confirmed, I was sent to an isolation unit in hospital, where I remain, and, as a precaution, my family members were also asked to isolate themselves. 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 the coronavirus."

Mr Walsh identified himself as a Boy Scout leader who works for a British natural gas analytics company called Servomex, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

He was attending a business conference at the Grant Hyatt hotel in Singapore and is believed to have contracted the Sars-like virus strain there.

Britain has so far recorded eight cases inside the country.

The British media's focus on the "super spreader" from Brighton intensified after one of the medical centres in the coastal city temporarily closed because two of its staff members also became infected. A second branch of the same medical centre closed yesterday.

Mr Walsh travelled to the French Alps before returning to London from Geneva on an EasyJet flight carrying more than 100 people.

Of those infected by Mr Walsh, five have been hospitalised in France, five in Britain and one other man on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

The man in Mallorca is "currently in good health. He shows practically no symptoms", said Mr Fernando Simon, an official from Spain's Health Ministry.

The Daily Mail said that on his return, Mr Walsh went to his local pub in Hove, Brighton and attended a group yoga session at his church.

Health officials in Brighton are currently trying to trace patients of the two healthcare workers diagnosed with the virus strain.

Mr Paul Cosford, a former director of Public Health England, said the risk to patients of the Brighton clinic remained small.

"There is not a general risk to any patient of the NHS in that area," he told BBC Radio. "We will be - and have already been - identifying the people who have been in particularly close contact."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2020, with the headline 'Briton passed virus to 11 in journey from S'pore to UK via French Alps'. Print Edition | Subscribe