IT ALL started with a short stay in Singapore.

Anxiety over the spread of coronavirus has gripped Brighton and Hove ever since the first case was confirmed last week.

Five people have been diagnosed with the virus in the city so far, all linked to “super spreader” Hove businessman and Scout leader Steve Walsh, the first to be diagnosed.

He caught the disease at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Singapore during his stay there from January 20 to 23.

He was attending a conference hosted by Crowborough gas analysis firm Servomex.


On January 24 Mr Walsh travelled from Singapore to French ski resort Les Contamines Montjoie.

He is believed to have infected five people at the resort who are now suffering from coronavirus, including former Hove resident Bob Saynor.

Then on January 28 Mr Walsh flew from Geneva, Switzerland, to Gatwick on Easyjet flight EZY8481, arriving just after 7pm.

The airline and Public Health England is now trying to track down as many as 15 people believed to have been close to him on the flight.

All crew on the flight have been in self-isolation but none has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

But Mr Walsh’s movements in Brighton and Hove from then on are less clear.

It is understood he visited The Grenadier pub in Hangleton Way between 7pm and 9pm on Saturday, February 1.

Five employees working that night are now in self-isolation but the pub remains open.

It is then believed Mr Walsh took part in a runners’ yoga class at Cornerstone Community Centre in Church Road, Hove, last week.

A manager at the centre was told to self-isolate, a concerned user told The Argus.

“People are very concerned about the lack of clear information from the NHS,” the source said.

“People are turning up at the centre and don’t know what to do.”

The community centre closed on Monday citing staff shortages.

Public Health England confirmed Mr Walsh, then unnamed, was diagnosed with the disease on February 6.

The businessman called 111 after he was told by a Servomex conference organiser that one of the delegates in Singapore had been diagnosed with coronavirus.

He was later tested in isolation at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, having driven himself there.

“Following a pre-arranged plan with the NHS they drove themselves to the hospital, were tested in isolation and away from public areas of the hospital and returned home in isolation in their own car,” an NHS spokesman said.

After testing positive for coronavirus, Mr Walsh was taken to Guy’s Hospital in London where he is still in quarantine.

On Saturday it was reported a Portslade and Aldridge Community Academy pupil was told to “self-isolate” for 14 days as part of a Public Health England investigation into the virus.

“If at any point the child is found to be symptomatic, we will be notified,” headteacher Mark Poston said.

On Monday four new coronavirus cases were confirmed in Brighton, all linked to Mr Walsh.

Public Health England confirmed two of the infected were healthcare workers.

County Oak Medical Centre in Carden Hill was closed and cleaned by workers in hazmat suits after one staff member tested positive for the virus.

A Public Health England spokesman assured residents one of the infected GPs had only worked for one day before being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Coronavirus pods were set up at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in a bid to isolate those with the disease.

On the same day a University of Sussex student was taken to hospital to be tested for the virus.

An email sent to students read: “The student involved had returned recently from overseas and unfortunately started to feel unwell.

“They took the wise decision to inform health professionals at an early opportunity.”

Yesterday the headteacher of Cottesmore St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Hove told parents two people from the school had been told to self-isolate.

“As part of self-isolation neither person is in school,” Rachel Breen said. “This is a purely precautionary measure to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading.”

A teacher at Bevendean Primary School was also told to self-isolate yesterday.

“The pupils have been given the choice whether to go in or not,” one parent told The Argus.

The Haven Practice in Beaconsfield Villas also closed yesterday due to coronavirus concerns, a sign on the door announced.

Now it is a waiting game to see whether any new cases will be confirmed in Brighton and Hove – or outside the city.