Coronavirus 'super spreader' named as Scout leader from Brighton

11 February 2020, 10:51 | Updated: 11 February 2020, 18:38

Steve Walsh has been named as the so-called "super spreader" from Brighton
Steve Walsh has been named as the so-called "super spreader" from Brighton. Picture: Sky News/Servomex

The coronavirus "super spreader" who is feared to have passed the illness onto 11 people across Europe has been identified as a scout leader from Brighton.

Steve Walsh, 53, is thought to have shown no symptoms of the illness for two weeks, during which time he travelled from Singapore to France, where he stayed at a ski resort.

There have so far been eight confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the UK - one of which being Mr Walsh.

He has also been connected with four of the remaining cases, five cases in France and one case in Spain.

The news comes as it was revealed today that two prison inmates at Bullingdon Prison, Oxfordshire, are being tested for coronavirus and are currently being kept in isolation.

Also, a teacher from Ratton School in Eastbourne has been told to isolate themselves over coronavirus fears, the Eastbourne Herald reports.

Mr Walsh is currently in a quarantine unit in St Thomas' Hospital, London, although has now fully recovered.

Speaking from hospital, he said in a statement: "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.

He is currently in St Thomas' Hospital in isolation
He is currently in St Thomas' Hospital in isolation. Picture: PA

"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 a conference with gas analytics company Servomex in Singapore where it is thought he contracted the virus.

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."

The news comes just after a teacher at a school in Brighton is reportedly in self-isolation after coming into contact with someone who has been in direct contact with the coronavirus.

Bevendean Primary School issued a letter to parents today saying if parents wished to keep their children off school then the absence would be authorised.

The County Oak Medical Centre closed "because of an urgent operational health and safety reason", following reports a member of staff there was one of those infected," and a closure of a second branch was announced today.

Chinese health authorities today confirmed the death toll from coronavirus has passed 1,000 as the UK scrambles to locate anyone who may be infected.

Around 100 people a day are feared to be dying from the virus in China, with 1016 fatalities so far recorded in total.

So far, 42,638 have been diagnosed.

The World Health Organisation said that out of a study of 17,000 patients, 82 per cent have mild disease, 15 per cent are severe and 3 per cent are critical.

The UK Government announced today that it is evaluating the potential impact of coronavirus on the supply of medicines and medical goods.

What is a "super spreader?"

There is no strict scientific definition for a super spreader, but it is when one individual patient passes on an infection to a large group of people.

It is worth noting it is not the fault of the super spreader for others getting ill, as they often do not even know they have the illness before showing symptoms.

According to the BBC, each person infected in China with the coronavirus passes it to two or three others on average.