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  1. ITV Report

British businessman Steve Walsh dubbed coronavirus 'super-spreader' now 'fully recovered' after hospital treatment

  • Video report by ITV News Health Correspondent Emily Morgan

The businessman at the centre of a UK outbreak of coronavirus has thanked the NHS for his treatment and said he is "fully recovered".

His comments come as the health secretary, Matt Hancock, told the House of Commons the Government expects the outbreak to "get worse before it gets better", adding "dealing with this disease is a marathon, not a sprint." He also announced a round of new funding for the NHS to help deal with the spread of the virus.

Steve Walsh, from Hove in East Sussex, who is still in quarantine in Guy's Hospital in London, picked up coronavirus while at a conference in Singapore.

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.

He is also linked to at least five further cases of coronavirus in the UK, including two doctors, one of whom worked at a Brighton surgery that has closed its doors.

There are eight confirmed cases of the virus in the UK so far.

On Tuesday, the University of Sussex confirmed a student who had "recently returned from overseas" was being tested for the virus. It added it was supporting staff and students.

The number of Britons in quarantine has passed more than 100 after they were repatriated from affected regions of China. There have been more than 42,600 cases of the virus globally, mostly in Far East country.

How the virus spread: movements of "super-spreader" from Singapore to central London hospital

The first, County Oak Medical Centre, closed its doors on Monday, whilst a second branch run by the same medical team also closed on Tuesday citing "health and safety concerns".

Mr Walsh was dubbed a "super-spreader" after so many who came into contact with him contracted the virus.

Speaking from hospital, Mr Walsh 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."

Mr Walsh contracted the virus whilst on a Singapore business trip and was treated at a central London hospital. Credit: PA

"I was advised to attend an isolated room at hospital, despite showing no symptoms, and subsequently self-isolated at home as instructed," he continued.

"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."

The gas analytics company Mr Walsh works for, Servomex, released a statement, in which it 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 spokeswoman 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.

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

"We wish Steve well and hope he recovers soon."

The comments came as virus was given an official name of Covid-19, by the director general of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Dr Ghebreyesus told a press conference a name was decided that "did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease".

He said: "Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising.

"It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks."