THE first Britons flown home from China and put in isolation in case they had coronavirus will be free to leave today after the man at the centre of the UK outbreak was also sent home.
The 83 people quarantined just under two weeks ago at Arrowe Park Hospital, in Merseyside, have all tested negative for the infection, now named Covid-19, which has killed 1,115 worldwide.
And so-called super-spreader Steve Walsh, who unwittingly passed it to 11 people, told of his relief at returning to his family after six days in hospital. He has passed two tests 24 hours apart for Covid-19 and poses no further risk.
But as the fight continued to contain the outbreak in Brighton and Hove, where the scout leader lives, Britain’s ninth case of the virus was confirmed.
A woman taken ill in London after flying in from China was being treated at St Thomas’ Hospital in the capital.
And two Britons were among another39 people newly diagnosed with the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan — bringing the number infected on board to 175. One was a quarantine officer who had been checking on passengers, it is believed.
Officials have located 12 patients who had close contact with the Brighton doctors infected, one of whom worked in A&E on Tuesday and Wednesday last week at Worthing Hospital.
The patients were told to self-isolate — and at least nine schools in the city were letting parents keep children at home amid fears staff or pupils may have picked up the virus.
Mr Walsh, whose children’s school is one of the nine, said: ‘I’m happy to be home and feeling well.
‘I want to give a big thank you to the NHS who have been great throughout and my thoughts are with everyone around the world who continues to be affected by the virus. It’s good to be back with my family.’
The businessman, who caught the bug in Singapore, is linked to five of the other UK cases and infected six Britons who are being treated overseas after having contact with him in France.
Meanwhile, a patient who has recently been to Hong Kong has reported flu-like symptoms in the mental health unit of Hove’s Mill View Hospital. He was put in isolation, as were two nurses, with a deep clean carried out.
New cases in worst-hit Chinese city Wuhan — where the virus began — could peak by the end of the month, experts say. But more cases here are ‘highly likely’.
Kharn Lambert, one of the 83 leaving Arrowe Park, said: ‘I’m ecstatic and so happy everyone has come back with negative test results.’
■ A MAN who ‘watched too many internet videos on coronavirus’ killed himself after becoming convinced he was infected. The 50-year-old — named only as Balakrishnayya — had gone for a heart check-up in Chitoor, India. Doctors gave him a mask to wear after finding he had a cold but he ‘misunderstood’ and thought he had Covid-19, his son said, adding: ‘He locked us in the house and hanged himself on a tree.’