Britain coronavirus ‘superspreader’ linked to 11 cases is scout leader

The British man who is believed to be a “superspreader” of coronavirus has been identified as businessman Steve Walsh.

The 53-year-old said he has fully recovered after being diagnosed in Brighton on 6 February with coronavirus.He contracted the virus in Singapore while at a business conference before going to the French Alps for a ski holiday, then returning to his home in Hove, East Sussex.

Mr Walsh is suspected of being a “superspreader” by unwittingly infecting 11 other Britons with the virus – five who are in the UK, five in France and one in Majorca – who were in France with him.

He has two children and is an assistant cub scout leader at the 3rd Hove St Leonards Scout Group where he is known as Shere Khan.

All but two of the eight coronavirus cases confirmed in the UK are connected to Mr Walsh.

In a statement from St Thomas’ hospital in London, where he is in quarantine, Mr Walsh said: “I would like to thank the NHS for their help and care – whilst I have fully recovered, my thoughts are with others who have contracted coronavirus.

“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 was at the conference at the Grand Hyatt in Singapore with his company, Servomex, a gas analytics company.

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.”

Mr Walsh attended the Singapore conference from 20-23 January before flying to the Alps on 24 January.

He shared a chalet with 11 others before flying from Geneva to Gatwick on an early morning easyJet flight on 28 January.

On 6 February, Mr Walsh was diagnosed with coronavirus in Brighton, having gone to a yoga class and The Grenadier pub.

Two days later five other Britons, including a nine-year-old, who were staying in the chalet with Mr Walsh, were diagnosed in France and are in quarantine in hospital there. They are understood to not be in a serious condition.

Then on 9 February, another British man who was in the ski resort tested positive in Majorca, where he lives, but his wife and two daughters tested negative.

On Sunday, another member of the group was also confirmed as having the virus.

On Monday, four people were diagnosed in the UK, including two healthcare workers at the County Oak Medical Centre in Brighton which has been closed since Monday.

A second branch, in Brighton’s Deneway area, was closed on Tuesday for “urgent operational health and safety reasons”.

Officials are now trying to trace anybody who came into contact with the two healthcare workers and the Patcham Nursing Home is isolating its 24 elderly residents after one of them visited the home.

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