A British man who unknowingly infected nearly a dozen others with the deadly coronavirus has come forward.
Steve Walsh contracted the virus while on a business trip to Singapore in late January. He then went to a ski resort in the French Alps, where he unwittingly spread the virus to at least 11 others. At least five Britons who stayed at the resort – including a 9-year-old boy – were infected, as were five people in France. He was also connected to at least one case in Spain, the BBC reported.
Walsh’s case also prompted French health authorities to test 61 other children and family members at the resort and temporarily close some schools there, but they all tested negative.
In a statement, Walsh thanked Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) and noted he has officially recovered from the virus that has killed some 1,016 people and infected more than 40,000 others globally.
“I would like to thank the NHS for their help and care,’’ Walsh said, according to the Associated Press. “Whilst I have fully recovered, my thoughts are with others who have contracted coronavirus.’’
Walsh said as soon as he realized he had been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, he spoke to his doctor and public health authorities.
“I was advised to attend an isolated room at the hospital, despite showing no symptoms, and subsequently self-isolated at home as instructed,” he said. “When the diagnosis was confirmed, I was sent to an isolation unit in the hospital, where I remain, and, as a precaution, my family was also asked to isolate themselves.’’
The news comes after government officials in the U.K. on Monday declared the coronavirus outbreak a “serious and imminent threat to public health.” To date, the country has reported eight cases of the novel virus.
“In light of the recent public health emergency from the novel Coronavirus originating from Wuhan, Secretary of State has made regulations to ensure that the public are protected as far as possible from the transmission of the virus,” the government said in a statement, adding Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside, and Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes, are “isolation facilities.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.