'Super-spreader' businessman given coronavirus all-clear by health experts

Businessman Steve Walsh, the man at the centre of a UK outbreak of coronavirus, is being discharged from hospital and is no longer contagious, NHS strategic incident director Professor Keith Willett said.

Mr Walsh - identified as a so-called super-spreader - had issued a statement on Tuesday saying he was fully recovered.

Now that has been confirmed by doctors.

Prof Willett said in a statement: "I'm pleased to say that - following two negative tests for coronavirus, 24 hours apart - Mr Walsh has been discharged from Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, having made a full recovery following his treatment.

"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 out of the media spotlight.

"I would like to thank the clinical team who treated Mr Walsh in hospital, as well as all the NHS staff who are working hard with other health organisations to limit the spread of coronavirus and treat the small numbers who have contracted the illness."

One of the seven coronavirus cases in the UK is a healthcare worker at Worthing Hospital A&E. Credit: PA/AP

The 53-year-old scout leader, from Hove in East Sussex, contracted the virus on a business trip to Singapore and is linked to five other people diagnosed with the virus in the UK.

On his way back to the UK from Singapore, he stopped off at a ski region in France, where five other Britons were subsequently infected with the virus, now also known as Covid-19.

A member of staff at Worthing Hospital is among the now seven confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

Staff at the West Sussex hospital received a memo on Tuesday telling them a member of staff working in the A&E department had been diagnosed with the disease.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said that all services at the hospital, including surgery and out patients, are operating normally.

It is understood the staff member at Worthing Hospital is not the same person as the locum doctor working in Brighton, who is also one of the seven ongoing cases.

A taxi driver wearing a face mask outside Worthing Hospital. Credit: PA

Dr George Findley, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Executive, Western Sussex Hospitals called for patients to "minimise pressure on A&E services."

He said: “It’s important to stress that if you do need emergency care, our experienced and skilled staff are here for you.

"But we are asking people to help minimise pressure on A&E services by using alternative options for treatment of non-emergency conditions wherever possible."

Worthing Hospital is run by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and was rated "outstanding" across all categories by the Care Quality Commission last year.

There are now 169 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Credit: AP

In Japan, 39 more people on a quarantined cruise ship have tested positive for the strain of coronavirus - also known as Covid-19 - the country’s health ministry said.

It comes as the United Nations health emergencies chief said "it's way too early" to predict the beginning of the end of China's virus outbreak.

A British honeymooner diagnosed with coronavirus says he has now tested negative for the disease - after being removed from the cruise ship where there are now 169 confirmed cases.

Alan Steele, from Wolverhampton, was moved to hospital last Friday from the Diamond Princess cruise ship stationed off the coast of Japan after being diagnosed with the virus.

But on Wednesday he said he hopes to soon be released from quarantine if a second test for the virus also proves negative.

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There are now 169 confirmed cases on the Diamond Princess, quarantined in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, among its 3,711 passengers and crew, making it the highest concentration of cases in the world.

Mr Steele's wife, Wendy Marshall Steele, is still on board.

Meanwhile, it is understood two prisoners at HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire are being tested for the illness and are being held in isolation.

One of the men is understood to have been recently transferred from a Thai jail and both are reported to be suffering flu-like symptoms.

Formula 1, meanwhile, announced on Wednesday afternoon that the 2020 Chinese Grand Prix, which had been scheduled for April 17-19, has been postponed.

"The Chinese Grand Prix has always been a very important part of the F1 calendar and the fans are always incredible," Formula 1 said in a statement.

"We all look forward to racing in China as soon as possible and wish everyone in the country the best during this difficult time."

As concerns over the outbreak continue across industries, Nokia has now joined a growing list of technology companies to pull out of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) showcase.

Due to take place at the end of the month in Barcelona, the annual MWC attracts over 100,000 visitors, but tech firms including Amazon, LG, Sony, Intel and Facebook have also withdrawn.

As well as Nokia's telecoms business, HMD Global, the firm which makes its mobile handsets, has also confirmed it would not attend.

The number of confirmed cases of the virus has slowed for a second day. Credit: AP

As of Wednesday, a total of 1,758 people have been tested, of which 1,750 were confirmed negative and 8 positive.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister praised the response of the NHS and said anyone concerned should “simply follow their advice”.

Steve Walsh has been treated at St Thomas' Hospital in London. Credit: PA

Mr Walsh is also linked to a doctor working at the Brighton surgery.

It is thought the doctor was acting as a locum at County Oak Medical Centre and had only carried out one day of admin work there recently and had not had any direct contact with patients.

The Grenadier pub in Hove, East Sussex, one of the locations visited by the Brighton businessman, Steve Walsh Credit: PA

A second branch of the surgery also closed, but Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed they would reopen soon following “deep cleaning”.

Both branches opened again on Wednesday but said there could be some disruption to appointments.

On Wednesday morning, County Oak Medical Centre said it had re-opened with a "limited service".

A statement on the website of the surgery - operator of previously closed Warmdene and Carden surgeries - told patients that the facilities have been "extensively and rigorously cleaned throughout".

China has born the brunt of the coronavirus infections and deaths. Credit: AP

Also in Brighton, Patcham Nursing Home said on Tuesday that it has “closed to all visitors” after one of the infected GPs visited a patient there about a week ago.

A spokesperson for the care home said no one was unwell and the closure was a precaution.

Another surgery in Brighton, The Haven, said it was closed “due to unforeseen circumstances”, although there was no confirmation whether it was linked to the outbreak.

A man in protective clothing cleaning the County Oak Medical Centre GP practice in Brighton. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, pupils at Cottesmore St Mary’s Catholic and Bevendean Primary School in Brighton were told they could stay at home after a couple of teachers feared the had come into contact with the virus.

Earlier, Dr Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), described the outbreak as “a very grave threat for the rest of the world”.

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The death toll from the disease rose to 1,115, but the rate of diagnosed infections in China, which has born the brunt of infections and all but two deaths, slowed.

China's National Health Commission said 2,015 new cases had been reported over the last 24 hours, representing a second day of decline.

The total number of cases is around 45,000 globally.