Hove superspreader Steve Walsh speaks from hospital bed

Posted On 11 Feb 2020 at 10:10 am

Steve Walsh

The Hove father who is at the centre of a UK outbreak of coronavirus has thanked the NHS, friends family and colleagues for their support.

Steve Walsh, a scoutmaster who leads the 3rd Hove St Leonard’s scout troupe, told the Mail he contacted the NHS as soon as he realised he had been exposed.

He says he has now recovered – and says his thoughts are with those he unwittingly passed the virus onto.

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.

“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.”

A spokesperson for his employers Servomex, which organised the Singapore conference Mr Walsh attended where he contracted the virus, 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.”

A spokesman for the Scout Association said: “We are aware that Steve Walsh from the Brighton area who volunteers with the Scout Movement is suffering from coronavirus. He contracted the virus while out of the UK.

“This volunteer has not been to any Scout meetings since his return to the UK.

“We wish Steve well and hope he recovers soon.”

Mr Walsh is thought to have passed the virus onto eleven confirmed cases while he was in France – and possibly more in the UK as he unwittingly came into contact with scores of people after leaving Singapore.

Four of those he passed the virus onto are from Brighton and Hove. They are Dr Greenwood and three men, one of whom is a healthcare worker.

He also passed it to one other person in the UK, one person who is now in Mallorca and five UK nationals in France – one of which is Dr Greenwood’s husband Bob Saynor and another their nine-year-old son. None are said to be in a serious condition.

So far, the places in Brighton and Hove affected are:

  • County Oak Medical Centre, where Dr Catriona Greenwood worked one admin day last week, and its branch surgery at Deneway.
  • Grenadier Pub in Hangleton, which was visited by Steve Walsh on February 1.
  • Cornerstone Community Centre, where a yoga teacher came into contact with Steve Walsh on February 3. No other people have been advised to self-isolate.
  • easyjet flight EZS8481 to Gatwick from Geneva on January 28, which is believed to be the flight Mr Walsh took back to the UK
  • Bevendean Primary School, where a staff member has been in close contact with someone who has been advised to self-isolate (but is not themselves diagnosed)
  • Portslade Academy, which told parents on Friday one of its pupils has been advised to self-isolate for a fortnight after coming into contact with the Hove father. It’s believed pupils at other schools have been given the same advice.
  • Patcham Nursing Home, which has closed its doors to all visitors after being visited by one of the medics now confirmed as having the virus.

Earlier, Paul Cosford, emeritus medical director of Public Health England (PHE), told Radio 4’s Today program yesterday’s four new cases were unsurprising as they were all in contact with Mr Walsh.

He said “contact tracing” run by PHE was”working very well”, adding: “A small number of them will be patients who these healthcare workers have been involved with treating but it is actually a relatively small number.

“There is not a general risk to any patient of the NHS in that area. We will be – and have already been – identifying the people who have been in particularly close contact.”

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