'Super-spreader' scout leader fears backlash after unwittingly bringing bug back

The Brighton coronavirus 'super-spreader' today revealed he fears being turned into a 'national scapegoat' after accidentally infecting 11 other Britons with the illness. 

Scout leader Steve Walsh, 53, is in an isolation unit at St Thomas' Hospital in London after picking up the disease from one of the 100 other delegates at a Singapore gas conference last month.

Today, his next-door neighbour of 15 years said the father of two is 'feeling fine' but feels concerned about how he will be perceived.  

'I've spoken to his wife Cathy directly and to Steve by email and they are absolutely terrified of being made scapegoats for all this which would be totally unfair,' Ian Henshall, a 59-year-old author, told The Mirror. 

'He acted as quickly as he possibly could as soon as he got ill. They are a lovely family. He is feeling fine now and Cathy is hoping he will be able to leave isolation and come home soon.

'They are just obviously very concerned about being made scapegoats in all this.'

It came as two teachers at the school Mr Walsh's two children usually attend were put into 'self isolation' in case they had picked up the virus, as health authorities try to trace hundreds of people he and other Britons have come into contact with since returning from Asia. 

This is the coronavirus super-spreader Steve Walsh, who inadvertently infected 11 people with the disease on a ski break in the Alps, and revealed he has beaten the virus

This is the coronavirus super-spreader Steve Walsh, who inadvertently infected 11 people with the disease on a ski break in the Alps, and revealed he has beaten the virus

Father-of-two sales executive Steve Walsh is in quarantine in a London hospital today after picking up the disease at a Singapore gas conference - but he has recovered five days after showing symptoms

Father-of-two sales executive Steve Walsh is in quarantine in a London hospital today after picking up the disease at a Singapore gas conference - but he has recovered five days after showing symptoms

Father-of-two sales executive Mr Walsh is in quarantine in a London hospital today after picking up the disease at a Singapore gas conference

Cleaning equipment arrives at the County Oak Medical centre in Brighton, which was temporarily closed after reports a member of staff was infected

Cleaning equipment arrives at the County Oak Medical centre in Brighton, which was temporarily closed after reports a member of staff was infected

A man wears a face mask as a precaution while he serves customers in an oriental food store in the centre of Brighton on February 11

A man wears a face mask as a precaution while he serves customers in an oriental food store in the centre of Brighton on February 11

MailOnline has found at least nine sites in Brighton linked to the city's super spreader or his infected doctor friend including two schools, two health centres and a care home as the area's residents accused public health chiefs of starving them of information

MailOnline has found at least nine sites in Brighton linked to the city's super spreader or his infected doctor friend including two schools, two health centres and a care home as the area's residents accused public health chiefs of starving them of information

Following the Singapore conference, Mr Walsh accidentally infected at least 11 other Britons on his 6,736-mile journey home to Hove via a ski holiday with friends in the Alps.

He claimed he is feeling well again and said in a statement from quarantine: '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'.   

Mr Walsh, who is assistant cub scout leader at the 3rd Hove St Leonards Scout Group where the children know him as Shere Khan, decided to reveal his identity to MailOnline yesterday after inadvertently putting Brighton at the centre of Britain's coronavirus crisis after four people on his ski holiday who live in the seaside resort also tested positive yesterday. 

In the past 24 hours two city health centres have been closed, a care home is on lockdown and children at one primary school have been told they can stay at home after two GPs became confirmed cases and a teacher was quarantined at home.

The spread of the disease has sparked panic in the south coast city, where residents have accused public health officials of 'losing control' by 'intentionally hiding' information about Mr Walsh including his identity and exact movements since he came home on January 28. 

As the global death toll hit 1,112 and the British Government threatened to arrest people who try the flee quarantine, it also emerged today:

A drug dealer who was extradited from Thailand collapsed in a UK jail with suspected coronavirus; Dealer Mark Rumble, 31, and two other prison inmates are now being tested for the killer disease; Five schools in Brighton issued coronavirus warnings to parents after super-spreader Steve Walsh fell ill; Two GP surgeries in his home city of Brighton and Hove have been closed and a nursing home was yesterday placed in lockdown; Authorities continued to try and track the contacts of Mr Walsh and his five associates, including two GPs.  

Mr Walsh lives with his wife Catherine and contracted the virus during a conference at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Singapore organised by Servomex, a British gas analytics company he works for, more than two weeks ago.

He then travelled to Les Contamines-Montjoie, near Megeve, for a ski break to stay with friends Bob and Catriona Saynor, who own the chalet where 11 people were exposed to the virus. They are both believed to have coronavirus and so has their nine-year-old son. 

What we know about 'super-spreader' Steve Walsh and how the coronavirus crisis has gripped Brighton

Jan 20-23: British businessman Steve Walsh unknowingly catches the virus at a conference attended by more than 100 internationals at the £1,000-a-night Grand Hyatt hotel in Singapore

Jan 24: The 53-year-old arrives in Contamines-Montjoie in the French Alps and stays at a chalet owned by a fellow Brit. French health ministry officials say he had contact with at least 11 Britons at the chalet. Less than 1,000 cases in China had been recorded at this point

Jan 27: Servomex, the gas analysis company Mr Walsh works for, advises all attendees of the conference to work from home. The advice came four days after one conference-goer was quarantined in Asia over fears of having the virus

Jan 28: Mr Walsh flies back from Geneva, Switzerland to London Gatwick on board easyJet flight EZS8481. He did not have any symptoms. Authorities say they contacted 183 passengers and six crew on the flight

February 1: Mr Walsh spends two hours at his local pub, The Grenadier, in Hove. Five staff are told to self-isolate for a fortnight. It is unclear where else he went after landing back in the UK. Almost 12,000 cases across the world have been recorded at this point 

February 4-5: Mr Walsh contacts his GP, NHS 111 and Public Health England after learning he had been exposed to a confirmed coronavirus case at the conference in Singapore. He drives himself to the Royal Sussex County Hospital Brighton to be tested in isolation and then self-isolates once at home. Servomex give a list of all British attendees to PHE for screening

February 6: He tests positive for the virus at the Royal Sussex County Hospital and is then whisked off to Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London to be quarantined for two weeks. He becomes the third case in the UK. Almost 30,000 cases have been recorded across the world at this point

February 8: Five Britons – four adults and a child – staying at the same chalet as the 'super-spreader' in France test positive for the coronavirus. Environmental consultant Bob Saynor, 48, and his nine-year-old son were named locally as two of the Brits

February 9: British father living in Majorca tests positive: Ex-pat who also had contact with the Brighton businessman at chalet France has disease. His wife and two daughters test negative.

UK officials confirm a fourth person has caught coronavirus in England, and reveal they had come into contact with Mr Walsh in France. This is thought to be Dr Catriona Greenwood, who owns the chalet in France with her husband Mr Saynor.

February 10: Four more patients in the UK are confirmed to have the coronavirus: All had contact with businessman at the ski resort in France. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to eight

Dr Greenwood's GP surgery – the County Oak Medical Centre – was closed for health reasons. Another case was confirmed to be a health worker, thought to be a male GP and friend of the Saynor family

February 11: Patcham Nursing Home in Brighton closed its doors to visitors as a 'precaution' amid fears either Dr Greenwood or the other GP with coronavirus visited one of its 24 elderly residents last week 

Students at Bevendean Primary School are told they can stay at home after a teacher was asked to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who had spent time with a coronavirus patient, potentially the 'super-spreader' Steve Walsh. Parents of pupils said they were left 'shaking with fear'

Another GP practice in Brighton – Deneway Surgery – is closed. It is also run by the County Oak Medical Centre. It is not clear if Dr Greenwood had been here, or the other male GP worked here

February 12: Mr Walsh remains in isolation as health authorities try to track down his associates.  

Mr Walsh then flew from Geneva to London on an easyJet plane with 100-plus passengers and crew before going to his local pub, The Grenadier in Hove.

He then called NHS 111 with concerns about coronavirus and was advised to go to Royal Sussex County Hospital Brighton, for testing, before being moved to a specialist unit in London.

Describing the chain of events that led to his diagnosis on February 6, Mr Walsh revealed he was  allowed to drive himself home after being tested for coronavirus.

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'. 

Mr Walsh was the first Briton to fall ill on home soil  - but the UK's third case after two Chinese tourists tested positive while staying in a budget hotel in York. 

Britain's fourth case is believed to be Dr Catriona Saynor, who owns the chalet in Les Contamines-Montjoie where the super-spreader stayed, but flew back to the UK for her work as a locum GP before testing positive last week.

Four more friends from Brighton on the same ski holiday - including two more GPs - returned home before testing positive for coronavirus over the weekend. 

And five more Britons who shared a ski chalet with Mr Walsh, including Dr Saynor's husband Bob and their nine-year-old son, are in hospital in France. Another expat also infected with the virus fell ill after returning home to Majorca, taking the number of cases linked to Mr Walsh to 11. 

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 cub scout leader did not spend any time with his group in Hove since returning from Singapore.

A Scouting Association spokesman 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'.

Six of the infected Britons who came into contact with him are being treated in France and Spain, but the other five, including the GPs, returned to the Brighton area.  

Professor Keith Willett, NHS strategic incident director, praised Mr Walsh yesterday.

He said: 'This patient did the right thing when they had concerns about coronavirus by calling NHS 111 for advice. After a telephone assessment, they were advised to make their way to Royal Sussex County Hospital Brighton, for testing. Following a pre-arranged plan with the NHS they drove themselves to the hospital, were tested in isolation and away from public areas of the hospital and returned home in isolation in their own car.

'Any travellers from China and the other specified countries who have a cough, fever, or shortness of breath advised to follow the example of this patient and call NHS 111 for advice.'   

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs in the Commons yesterday afternoon that 'a capital facility' was being launched immediately 'to support any urgent works the NHS needs for the coronavirus response, such as the creation of further isolation areas and other necessary facilities.'

He added: 'As I said last week, dealing with this disease is a marathon not a sprint. The situation will get worse before it gets better. We will be guided by the science. Be in no doubt, we will do everything that is effective to tackle this virus and keep people safe'.

The Grenadier pub in Hove, where the super spreader went for a drink after returning from Singapore with the virus. Staff who were on shift that night have been told to self-isolate

The Grenadier pub in Hove, where the super spreader went for a drink after returning from Singapore with the virus. Staff who were on shift that night have been told to self-isolate

Patcham Nursing Home in the north of the city has closed its doors to visitors amid fears a GP with coronavirus visited one of its 24 elderly residents last week

Patcham Nursing Home in the north of the city has closed its doors to visitors amid fears a GP with coronavirus visited one of its 24 elderly residents last week

Brighton GP surgery the County Oak Medical Centre has been closed for 'urgent operational health and safety reasons' after a member of staff tested positive for the killer coronavirus

Brighton GP surgery the County Oak Medical Centre has been closed for 'urgent operational health and safety reasons' after a member of staff tested positive for the killer coronavirus

Workers in protective suits inside of the County Oak Medical Centre in Brighton on Monday after a GP at the practice was diagnosed with the deadly virus

The Britons infected with coronavirus - and the patients ill in the UK

Cases in the UK and where they are being cared for:

Newcastle: Two Chinese nationals who came to the UK with coronavirus and fell ill while on the tourist trail in York. They were the first two cases on British soil and confirmed on January 31.

London:  The first British coronavirus victim has become known as a super-spreader. Steve Walsh picked up the virus in Singapore - but flew for a ski break in France afterwards where he appears to have infected at least 11 people.  

Dr Catriona Saynor, who owns the chalet with her husband Bob, is feared to be the fourth patient in the UK diagnosed with Coronavirus. Her husband remained in France but she flew to Britain for medical exams and is in hospital.

Four more people in Brighton - including two medics - were diagnosed over the weekend and confirmed as cases. They were all 'known contacts' of the super-spreader and are thought to have stayed in the same French resort. 

Total in UK hospitals: Eight patients. Six Britons and two Chinese nationals 

British expats and holidaymakers outside the UK and where they are being cared for:

Majorca: A British father-of-two who stayed in the ski resort tested positive after returning to his home in Majorca. His wife and children are not ill.

France: Five people who were in the chalet with the super-spreader. These include the chalet's owner, environmental consultant Bob Saynor, 48, and his nine-year-old son. They are all in a French hospital with three unnamed others. Dr Catriona Saynor is in Britain.

Japan: A British man on board a cruise ship docked at a port in Japan tested positive for coronavirus, Princess Cruises said. Alan Steele, from Wolverhampton, posted on Facebook that he had been diagnosed with the virus. Steele said he was not showing any symptoms but was being taken to hospital. He was on his honeymoon.

Total: Seven

Public health officials are urgently tracing patients who might have been infected - but have been accused of keeping 'secrets' from the public. 

Professor Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia, said: 'Patient confidentiality is important but we may now be at the point where the public's need to know more information is greater.

'It would be helpful to know if he got a taxi straight home or got a bus and stopped off at the supermarket. Letting the public know this timeline will reassure many that they are not at risk.' 

Servomax yesterday released details of Mr Walsh's movements before he fell ill - but Public Health England has refused to reveal where he went in Brighton.

A care home is the latest health facility to be shut down in Brighton amid fears a GP with coronavirus visited one of its 24 elderly residents last week with the seaside resort's residents gripped by fear.

Patcham Nursing Home in the north of the city has closed its doors to visitors as a 'precaution' after the nearby County Oak Medical Centre was sealed off and cleaned by a team in hazmat suits after a member of medical staff tested positive for the killer virus. 

And yesterday morning students at Bevendean Primary School have been told they can stay at home after it was revealed a teacher there is in 'self-isolation' over fears they have caught the coronavirus from the city's super-spreader.

Britain is facing a major coronavirus outbreak and Brighton is at its centre because it is home to the scout leader super-spreader who infected at least 11 people before falling ill himself last week. 

A relative of a Patcham resident tried to pop in to the care home yesterday but was told by bosses it was 'off limits' and told Brighton and Hove News: 'They said the reasoning behind the closing was because the doctor, who was tested positive for coronavirus, visited'. 

Yesterday it emerged the illness has struck down two GPs - feared to be Catriona Saynor and a doctor friend who was also in the Alps at the end of January. 

The Coronavirus is spiralling out of in Brighton and health bosses are intentionally hiding information about the super-spreader, a leading city councillor has said.

Professor Samer Bagaeen, a leading figure on Brighton and Hove City Council's Health board said Public Health England (PHE), the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Brighton and Hove City Council have lost control of the situation by keeping residents ill-informed.  

He said: 'I think they have not been straight with everyone from the start and have intentionally hid the implications of the infections.

'We don't know who in the city has been exposed and where.  

'We should have been informed since day one. You have people who are 'self isolating' but could still be going to the shops.

'And the council has told us councillors that we must not speak to journalists. The problem is that nobody is stepping into a leadership role and everyone is passing the buck.'  

Dr Catriona (pictured), a doctor, had moved from Brighton to live permanently in the chalet

Environmental consultant Bob Saynor, 48, and his nine-year-old son have been named locally as being at the centre of the outbreak and are being treated in hospital

Dr Catriona Saynor (pictured left) quit as a partner in Brighton to live permanently in the French chalet where the British super-spreader visited to ski. She works at County Oak Medical Centreas a locum, according to the medical centre's website. Her husband Bob and their nine-year-old son are also said to have been confirmed with coronavirus

CARE HOME IN BRIGHTON SHUTS DOWN AND PRIMARY SCHOOL TELLS PUPILS NOT TO TURN UP OVER CORONAVIRUS FEARS 

A care home is the latest health facility in Brighton to be shut down amid fears a GP infected with coronavirus visited one of its 24 elderly residents last week, while a primary school in the city has told pupils not to turn up over concerns a teacher may have the deadly disease. 

Patcham Nursing Home in the north of the city has closed its doors to visitors as a 'precaution' after the nearby County Oak Medical Centre was sealed off and cleaned by a team in hazmat suits after a member of medical staff tested positive for the killer virus. 

And yesterday morning students at Bevendean Primary School were told they can stay at home if they want after it was revealed a teacher there is in 'self-isolation' over fears they caught the coronavirus from someone who came into contact with the city's 'super-spreader'.  

A relative of a Patcham resident tried to pop in yesterday but was warned by bosses it was 'off limits' and told Brighton and Hove News: 'They said the reasoning behind the closing was because the doctor, who was tested positive for coronavirus, visited.'   

Parents of children at Bevendean said they were left 'shaking with fear' after getting an email to warn of the potential coronavirus case.  

A mother with a six-year old son at the school told The Argus: 'I'm still shaking. I was going to take my child to school, but then I got the email at 7.10am. I'm just glad I checked. The pupils have been given the choice whether to go in or not ­– it's up to parents, and if they take the time off it goes down as an authorised absence.

'I'm not sending my child to school. I'm not sending him for the rest of the week. I'm scared of this virus. It's left the whole country scared. My son's scared too. He doesn't want to go to school.'   

Tracking down the patients doctors has been made a priority because the virus is

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