HEALTH bosses have let coronavirus “spiral out of control” by “intentionally hiding” information.

That is according to furious Professor Samer Bagaeen, a leading figure on Brighton and Hove City Council’s Health board.

He was speaking as the fifth case of the killer virus was diagnosed in Brighton.

The councillor 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.


Public Health England said it was working to track down people in the city after the virus spread to four others – including two medical professionals.

But livid Hove Park representative Cllr Bagaeen is demanding people know the movements of the so-called “super spreader”.

The Hove man is suspected of having infected at least 11 people. He spent five days living normally in the city – going to the pub and yoga – before being quarantined.

Cllr Bagaeen, who worries the number of people who have been infected by the man is much higher than suggested, 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.

“I am finding details about incidents from newspapers days after they have happened.

“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.”

Cllr Bagaeen also questioned why authorities were not correcting widely reported incorrect information in national newspapers.

This includes the claim the super spreader walked into the A&E department in the Royal Sussex County Hospital on Sunday.

He added: “Peter [Kyle, Hove and Portslade MP] and Caroline [Lucas, Brighton Pavilion MP] defended the services who said that people should not panic.

“But, with hindsight, that was not the right attitude considering what we are facing at the moment.

“It has spiralled out of control.”

The council, which issued a statement on the situation 26 hours after the first Brighton case was confirmed, said it wanted more “official information” that it could share.

The NHS Brighton and Hove CCG, which took a day to confirm the first coronavirus case, said it shares all information as soon as possible.

And PHE said it publishes updates on test results and statements on confirmed cases from the Chief Medical Officer

However, it was confirmed the third UK case was in Brighton and Hove by Mr Kyle, not health bosses.

The MP spoke up after a briefing from the Ministry of Health and in response to wild speculation on social media.

Mr Kyle said: “Let us be honest, there are going to be more cases.

“The object is to limit the numbers as much as possible and that involves a role of Government but also each and every one of us.

“A global crisis has reached our local community and it’s causing a lot of anxiety.

“But the best thing that people can do right now is not worry about who has been where, rather take personal measures such as washing hands – it really is that simple.”

Responding to Cllr Bagaeen, he said: “He seems to think that panic would have helped in the early stages. I disagree.”

Public Health England is working to track down people who may have been in contact with those infected.

Mr Kyle said that listing each place those infected had been would “overwhelm public services” because of the volume of people who came forward.

But, he said, PHE was taking a “proactive, scientific and stringent” approach to tracking down people who have had extended contact with the infected.

He said: “My desire as an MP is to share information, but right now I am aware that there are certain bits based on expert advice that I am not allowed to share.”

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Nancy Platts said: “While we have been waiting for the official announcement, we’ve been working flat out with Public Health England and partners to contain the situation, using robust infection control measures to prevent any possible further spread of the virus.”