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Coronavirus super-spreader had no idea he had bug until he got home -

A businessman who has been put into quarantine after spreading coronavirus says he has beaten the virus as he pays tribute to fellow sufferers.

Steve Walsh, 53, is thought to have infected at least 11 other people over the last two weeks, inadvertently putting Brighton at the heart of the UK’s coronavirus crisis. In a statement from his hospital bed at Guy’s Hospital in London where he is still in isolation, Mr Walsh said he wanted to thank NHS staff for their help and care.

He said: ‘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.’

The scout leader is believed to have contracted the virus while attending a gas conference in Singapore last month on behalf of the company Servomex.

On his return to the UK, he stopped off at French ski resort Les Contamines-Montjoie in late January before heading back to the UK on an EasyJet flight from Geneva to Gatwick on January 28.

Mr Walsh is believed to have infected 11 other Britons with the virus – four in the UK, five in France and one in Majorca – who were in France with him.

Staff at The Grenadier pub in Hove, the local pub he visited upon his return, have also had to go into self-isolation for 14 days in case they might have the disease.

Earlier, Paul Cosford, emeritus medical director of Public Health England (PHE), said the four new cases of coronavirus announced in the UK on Monday were ‘not a complete surprise’ because they were all contacts of Mr Walsh.

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’.

Public health officials are now scrambling to trace other people who have may have come into contact with Mr Walsh.

In Brighton, where several cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed, the County Oak Medical Centre closed its doors after reports that one of the doctors working there had contracted the virus.

It comes as the death toll from the virus surpassed 1,000 in China alone.

The UK government announced new powers yesterday to allow it force people into mandatory isolation if they present a risk of spreading the disease.

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