NOW Brighton care home visited by infected GP is shutdown

Care home shuts and primary school pupils told to stay at home as Brighton is gripped by coronavirus fears: Hunt for children, patients and YOGA class who may have caught disease from ‘super-spreader’ scout leader or two GPs he infected

  • Patcham Nursing Home in north of city closed doors to visitors after infected GP visited one of 24 residents
  • This morning pupils at Bevendean Primary School told they can stay at home after teacher told to self-isolate 
  • Comes after members of yoga class told to stay indoors in case they contracted disease from super spreader
  • A leading Brighton councillor has slammed health bosses for losing control and keeping ‘secrets’ from public
  • Do you know the British ‘super spreader’? Email [email protected] or [email protected] or call 0203 615 0203

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 also 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 this morning students at Bevendean Primary School were told they can stay at home 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’. 

It comes after members of a yoga class attended by the coronavirus patient at the Cornerstone Community Centre last Monday were told to stay indoors and avoid interacting with people amid concerns they may have contracted the disease from the coronavirus patient during the session.

Steve Walsh, a married 53-year-old scout leader and businessman, was today revealed by MailOnline as Brighton’s super-spreader who is feared to have infected at least 11 people in a fortnight before showing any symptoms.

Mr Walsh is in quarantine in a London hospital today after picking up the disease at a Singapore conference at the end of last month and coming home to Hove via a skiiing holiday in the Alps.   

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 this morning 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 7.10 this morning. 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.’  

So far the coronavirus epidemic sweeping the world has struck down over 43,000 people and killed more than 1,000, all but two of whom were in China.

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

This is the coronavirus super-spreader Steve Walsh, who inadvertently infected 11 people with the disease on a ski break in the Alps

This 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

It comes after members of a yoga class attended by the coronavirus patient at the Cornerstone Community Centre last Monday were told to stay indoors and avoid interacting with people over fears they may have contracted the disease during the session

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 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

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. 

The Brighton coronavirus ‘super-spreader’ is a 53-year-old scout leader and family man who is feared to have infected at least 11 people in a fortnight before showing any symptoms of the deadly virus, MailOnline can exclusively reveal today.

Steve Walsh is in quarantine in a London hospital today after picking up the disease at a Singapore conference at the end of last month and coming home to Hove via a skiiing holiday in the Alps.  

Mr Walsh, who is assistant cub scout leader at the 3rd Hove St Leonards Scout Group where the children know him as Shere Khan, has inadvertently put Brighton at the centre of Britain’s coronavirus crisis.

It is feared Mr Walsh, who is in an isolation unit, came into contact with hundreds of people on his return to Britain – but he has beaten the illness, he said today.

Speaking from hospital, he 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.

‘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’.

He 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. 

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 Brigadier in Hove, and a group yoga session in a church hall before reportedly walking into Brighton hospital’s A&E with flu symptoms and being rushed into quarantine in London last week. 

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 Brigadier in Hove, and a group yoga session at the Cornerstone Community Centre.  

A worker at the community centre on Church Road revealed staff members who were in the class had been told to self-isolate. 

The worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told Mirror Online: ‘Public Health England assured us that no one other than people in that class with that person are at risk. My understanding is that they have all been contacted.

‘A member of staff attended that class so they have been told to self-isolate – but no one else [no other staff members].’

Public Health England (PHE) is believed to have contacted everyone who attended the class in Hove last Monday. 

Mr Walsh, who had not shown symptoms at the time, then fell ill later that week and took himself to Brighton hospital’s A&E with flu symptoms before being rushed into quarantine in London last week. 

This morning it emerged that pupils at Bevendean Primary School were told they could stay at home if they wished after a teacher was put in self-isolation over fears they have the virus.  

In a statement, the school said: ‘We have just been made aware that a member of our staff has been in close contact with someone who has been advised by Public

‘England to self-isolate as they have been in direct contact with the Coronavirus. We are currently in communication with the local authority and Public Health England for further advice and information however we feel that it is our duty to make you aware of what is happening.

‘The school will remain open until further notice however if you wish to keep your child off of school at this time, then we will authorise this absence. Please contact the school if you are keeping your child off.

‘Whilst nothing has been confirmed, the health and safety of our school community is of paramount importance to us and we have therefore taken this unprecedented step until we have more information.

‘Please keep an eye on the website for further information and updates as we have them. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.’

A father who is not taking his daughter to school said: ‘God knows how many other cases there are. We don’t know. It’s a ticking time bomb.

‘I’m really worried. We’ve had so many cases. How many people who have been told to self-isolate have been out and about, going to the shop or the pub? My daughter’s in reception. I don’t think she understands.’

Yesterday it was revealed 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. 


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

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

So far the coronavirus epidemic sweeping the world has killed more than 1,000, all but two of whom were in China

The epidemic has struck down over 43,000 people since the first cases were reported in late January – 99 per cent of infections are in China 

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. He 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 were diagnosed over the weekend and confirmed as cases today. 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

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

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.’

Tracking down the patients doctors has been made a priority because the virus is known to be particularly dangerous for those with pre-existing health conditions. 

NHS sources stressed a maximum of 15 patients came into contact with them since their return from the French chalet.         

The Brighton doctors are among 11 Britons thought to have caught the virus from a ‘super-spreader’, a middle-aged businessman who contracted it in Singapore. He is believed to be a scoutmaster and married father-of-one.   

Whitehall sources suggested the cluster of cases meant hundreds of people would now have to be tested for the virus.  The news comes as the death toll from the killer disease tops 1,000. 

At least one of the infected doctors is thought to have practised at the County Oak Medical Centre on Carden Hill. It was shut down yesterday for a deep clean.  

He apparently passed it on to a group he stayed with at a French ski chalet close to Mont Blanc.

Six of the infected Britons are being treated in France and Spain, but the other five, including the GPs, are back in the Brighton area.  

The World Health Organisation expressed its alarm about the situation last night. ‘The detection of this small number of cases could be the spark that becomes a bigger fire,’ said its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He said it was worrying that the illness had been transmitted by people with no travel history to China, where the virus originated.

As the death toll in China passed 1,000 and the Department of Health declared a ‘serious and imminent threat’:

  • The Government handed itself new powers to arrest anyone suspected of having coronavirus;
  • The number of cases in Britain reached eight, the Brighton cluster and two Chinese nationals infected in York;
  • Private schools were advised to tell pupils not to travel to South-East Asia during next week’s half term;
  • A student at the University of Sussex in Brighton was admitted to hospital with suspected coronavirus;
  • A private school in Southampton was closed for three days after pupils were put into isolation with virus symptoms;
  • A Chinese citizen journalist who raised the alarm about coronavirus has been missing since last Thursday;
  • UK healthcare workers have now tested 1,100 people for the virus;
  • British Airways cancelled all flights to and from China until April.

Until the Country Oak medical centre reopens, the surgery’s 7,600 patients have been told to call NHS 111 if they are unwell or 999 if they have a life-threatening emergency.

A GP who has worked at the practice, Catriona Greenwood, owns the French chalet with her husband. 

However, there is no official confirmation that she is infected with the virus. 

According to Brighton and Hove News she worked an ‘admin’ day at the surgery last week but did not meet any patients.

Public Health England is also trying to trace anyone who came into contact with the other Britons who were infected on the ski holiday. 

They have told a dozen people in Brighton to go into quarantine and they are sending them texts every morning asking them to reply ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if they have symptoms.

Arrowe Park Hospital, the isolation facility in The Wirral, where Britons evacuated from Wuhan in China have been staying

A note on the front of the County Oak Medical Centre in Brighton saying the surgery has been closed for ‘operational difficulties’

Health chiefs are also under increasing pressure to name a British ‘super spreader’ of the coronavirus, who is thought to have infected at least seven others

UK GOVERNMENT WILL ‘FORCIBLY QUARANTINE ANY PATIENTS WITH SUSPECTED CORONAVIRUS’

Suspected coronavirus patients will now be forcibly quarantined after a man staying at an isolation facility following his evacuation from Wuhan two weeks ago threatened to walk out.

The patient staying at Arrowe Park hospital on The Wirral told medics he was going to leave before completing 14 days of quarantine after his return from the Chinese city, MailOnline understands.

Government sources said those who returned to the UK on the evacuation flights on January 31 were given a ‘very clear choice’ and had to sign contracts saying they would remain in isolation for a fortnight.

It came as the Department of Health today declared the outbreak a ‘serious and imminent’ threat to the British public as it announced new powers to fight the spread. Anyone infected with the virus will now be kept in quarantine for their own safety and will be forced into isolation if they pose a threat to public health.  

A source told MailOnline: ‘We found we didn’t have the necessary enforcement powers to make sure they didn’t leave.

The source said the phrase ‘serious and imminent threat’ in the regulation was needed to trigger the powers, and at the moment the risk to the public is still regarded as ‘moderate’. We’re saying we are having to take action to prevent it becoming a serious and imminent threat.’

The first Britons evacuated from Wuhan will have completed 14 days in quarantine on Saturday, MailOnline understands. 

Five staff at the Grenadier pub in Hove have been instructed to ‘self-isolate’ after the super-spreader spent two hours there on February 1.

One bar worker was told they needed to be within two metres of an infected person for longer than 20 minutes to have any risk of picking up the infection.

Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director of PHE, said: ‘Two of these new cases are healthcare workers and as soon as they were identified, we advised them to self-isolate in order to keep patient contact to a minimum.

‘We are now working urgently to identify all patients and other healthcare workers who may have come into close contact, and at this stage we believe this to be a relatively small number.’

The fact that this super-spreader passed the disease to 11 Britons –five of whom returned to the UK and may have infected others themselves – has concerned scientists. ‘

Last week Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said patients tended to spread the disease to only two or three people.

It is possible the inhabitants of the chalet were in very close contact and the man may not have had any symptoms.

Andrew Freedman of Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: ‘It does appear that the index case has passed on the infection to an unusually large number of contacts. 

‘As such, he could be termed a super-spreader.

‘This may occur as result of someone being infectious despite having few or no symptoms, meaning they are unaware they have the infection. 

‘It can also result from someone coming into close contact with an unusually large number of people or someone carrying a larger than normal quantity of the virus.’

The super-spreader, who lives in Brighton, contracted the virus at a conference at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Singapore organised by Servomex, a British gas analytics company. 

He then flew to France and spent four days in a chalet in Les Contamines-Montjoie.

This chalet has been pinpointed as the centre of this outbreak. It is owned by Miss Greenwood, one of the potentially infected GPs, and her husband Bob Saynor, 48, an environmental consultant. 

Mr Saynor is being treated for the virus in France with his nine-year-old son and five other Britons.

A British father of two who also stayed at the chalet is in hospital in Majorca. 

The 13 Britons to have contracted the virus include Alan Steele who fell ill on his honeymoon aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan.

Two Chinese nationals are being treated in Newcastle after testing positive for the virus in York. 

Brighton pharmacists have sold out of hand sanitisers and face masks.

BRIT BUSINESSMAN GETS CORONAVIRUS AT SINGAPORE HOTEL THEN FLEW HOME VIA FRENCH SKI RESORT AND HAD PINT AT HIS LOCAL PUB

A British ‘super spreader’ is feared to have infected at least seven others with coronavirus, prompting the emergency testing of hundreds of people on his flights, Alpine ski break and even staff in his local pub.

The businessman is at the centre of a web of cases stretching across the UK, France and Spain after he apparently contracted the virus during a four-day trip to Singapore for a sales conference for gas analysis company Servomex.

The man in his fifties then jetted from south-east Asia to the Alps to ski in Les Contamines-Montjoie in late January where five more Britons including a nine-year-old boy became infected despite the ‘super spreader’ not having any cold or flu-like symptoms.

Britain’s health authorities have also contacted 183 passengers and six crew on an easyJet flight then taken by the unnamed man from Geneva to London, warning that they could be infected.

Five staff at The Grenadier in Hove, his local pub, have been instructed to self-isolate for a fortnight after he went there for a pint on Saturday February 1. 

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