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Health & Fitness Coronavirus in the UK: 'Super-spreader' Steve Walsh arrives home and is 'no longer contagious'

20:45  12 february  2020
20:45  12 february  2020 Source:   inews.co.uk

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The businessman at the centre of the UK outbreak of coronavirus has been discharged from hospital and said he was "happy to be home". Steve Walsh gave a "big thank you" to staff at the specialist infectious diseases unit at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London, where he was treated.

The 53-year-old scout leader, from Hove in East Sussex, contracted coronavirus on a business trip to Singapore - and has been linked to 11 other people who were diagnosed with the illness, now also known as Covid-19.

In a statement on his release from hospital, Mr Walsh said: "I'm happy to be home and feeling well. I want to give a big thank you to the NHS who have been great throughout and my thoughts are with everyone around the world who continues to be affected by the virus.

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"It's good to be back with my family and I would ask you please to respect our privacy from this point on."

Public Health England’s official threat level for the public remained at 'moderate' (Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

Professor Keith Willett, NHS strategic incident director, said Mr Walsh was discharged after two negative tests for coronavirus, 24 hours apart. He said: "Mr Walsh's symptoms were mild and he is no longer contagious and poses no risk to the public. He is keen to return to his normal life and spend time with his family."

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Patients traced

Eight people have so far been diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK, including two GPs. Officials know that the pair worked at a nursing home, Worthing Hospital A&E and two GP practices between them. Public Health England (PHE) confirmed it has traced and advised all close contacts of the two GPs, including about 12 patients.

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Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said on Wednesday that a number of GPs from Brighton were among those staying in the French ski chalet with Mr Walsh.

He said one of those completed a locum shift at Worthing A&E last week and, as a precaution, the hospital has now "sent home for self-isolation a number of their staff from various departments of the hospital".

As a result, the hospital is experiencing some staff shortages, he said.

Medical personnel wearing face masks and protective gloves greet British nationals evacuated from Wuhan in China amid the novel coronavirus outbreak (Photo: AFP/Getty)

Earlier, Professor Neil Ferguson, from the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College, London, said the world was "in the early phases of a global pandemic at the moment" and the true number of UK cases is higher than eight.

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"The fact we have only recorded eight cases in the UK is because our surveillance is focused on travellers," he told the BBC.

"We think probably we are picking up maybe one in three cases coming into the country at the current time. We will know more in the next few weeks. Surveillance has started across the UK in hospitals of pneumonia cases. That will give us a proper picture."

He said it was "highly unlikely" the UK could stop transmission of coronavirus and it was likely to "get going" in the UK in the next few weeks, peaking a few months later. He said up to 60 per cent of people could become infected, with most suffering mild symptoms.

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Pupils stay at home

Meanwhile, at least seven schools in Brighton, Hove and Eastbourne have pupils or staff who are self-isolating as a precaution after several cases of coronavirus were diagnosed in the area. In a letter to parents on Tuesday evening, Varndean School in Brighton said a "person from our school community" had been advised to self-isolate for 14 days after having contact with a potential case of the strain of coronavirus, officially named Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation.

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Hangleton Primary School in Hove said a parent has decided to self-isolate their family following "a connection to one of the health centres affected by the coronavirus". School leaders messaged parents on Tuesday saying that while there is a low risk for anyone attending class, they will authorise absences for families wishing to self-isolate.

One parent, who asked to remain anonymous, said around half of their daughter's class were not in school on Wednesday. They said: "I think that if the virus is around, keeping your child off school probably wouldn't help. Teaching your child good hygiene is the best way we can help prevent the virus spreading. My daughter is five years old, I have told her not to cuddle anybody like she normally does."

The Department for Education has written to schools ahead of the half-term break signposting them to public health advice and telling parents not to be "unduly worried about the possibility of your children catching the coronavirus".

Two prisoners at HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire tested for coronavirus came back negative. Mark Rumble, a 31-year-old brought back to the UK two weeks ago after being extradited from Thailand, was reportedly one of the cases.

As of Wednesday afternoon, a total of 1,758 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK, of which 1,750 were confirmed negative and eight positive.

All 83 people who were being held in quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital, in the Wirral, have been told their test results for coronavirus came back negative. They all expect to be free to leave the accommodation – which they had been staying in for the past fortnight – on Thursday morning.

Coronavirus in the UK: British man Steve Walsh thought to be a 'super-spreader' announces 'full recovery' .
Scout leader Steve Walsh, 53, who is still in quarantine at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, thanked the NHS for his treatment and said he is “fully recovered”.Scout leader Steve Walsh, 53, from Hove in East Sussex, who is still in quarantine at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, unwittingly picked up coronavirus while at a conference in Singapore between 20 and 22 January.On his way back to the UK, he stopped off for several days at a French ski chalet, where five Britons were subsequently infected with the virus.

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