/UK man linked to coronavirus cases speaks out

UK man linked to coronavirus cases speaks out

Steven Walsh

A British man linked to 11 coronavirus cases has spoken for the first time, saying he is “fully recovered” from the illness.

Steve Walsh, who remains quarantined in hospital, says his thoughts are with others who have contracted the virus.

He said his family have been asked to isolate themselves “as a precaution”.

The gas salesman, from Hove in East Sussex, caught the virus in Singapore and is thought to have infected 11 others at a French ski resort.

Five of the cases linked to Mr Walsh are in England, five are in France and one is in Majorca, Spain.

It takes the total number of people infected in the UK to eight.

There have now been more than 40,000 global cases of coronavirus, which has been declared a global health emergency. The death toll in China stands at 1,016.

Two of the new UK cases are understood to be GPs – one of whom works at the County Oak medical centre, in Brighton, East Sussex, which was temporarily closed on Monday.

Health officials are urgently tracing patients who might have been infected.

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Meanwhile, Patcham Nursing Home in Brighton confirmed on Tuesday that it has “closed to all visitors” after one of the infected GPs visited a patient there.

A spokeswoman for the care home said: “It is important to state that no-one at the home is unwell.

“However, following the closure of the local GP surgery, as a precaution we have closed the home to all visitors.”

She added that the care home had conducted checks on residents and staff, which Public Health England was happy with.

Last month, two other people – who are related – were confirmed as having coronavirus after being taken ill at a hotel in York.

It was later revealed that one is a student at the University of York.

Mr Walsh contracted the coronavirus at a work conference in Singapore, before travelling to a French ski resort for a holiday on his way back to the UK.

In a statement from quarantine in Guy’s Hospital in London, Mr Walsh thanked the NHS for their care.

He said he contacted his GP, NHS 111 and Public Health England, on learning he had been exposed to a confirmed case of coronavirus.

He added: “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.”

He thanked friends, family and colleagues for their support, adding: “I ask the media to respect our privacy.”

What are the symptoms of coronavirus and what can help stop its spread?

The main signs of infection are fever (high temperature) and a cough as well as shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Frequent hand washing with soap or gel, avoiding close contact with people who are ill and not touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, can help cut the risk of infection.

Catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, binning it and washing your hands can minimise the risk of spreading disease.

Anyone experiencing symptoms, even if mild, after travelling from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau, is advised to stay indoors and call the NHS 111 phone service.

In a statement, Servomex, Mr Walsh’s employer, said it continues to “provide support” to him and his family.

A company spokesperson added: “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.”

Servomex said it had “acted quickly” to put “preventative measures” in place, including introducing travel restrictions and enforcing self-isolation for employees who attended the Singapore conference or who have shown symptoms of the virus.

It comes as a second GP surgery in Brighton closed on Tuesday following confirmed cases of coronavirus in the city.

The County Oak Medical Centre was closed on Monday after a member of staff tested positive for the virus.

Now a second branch – located in Deneway, less than two miles away – has also shut.

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