A MAN who was the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Brighton is 'terrified' of people's reaction.

Scout leader Steve Walsh does not want to be made into a scapegoat after inadvertently infecting at least 11 people with the illness after contracting it during a business trip to Singapore, acording to his long-time neighbour.


Ian Henshall, a 59-year-old author, told The Mirror: "I’ve spoken to his wife Cathy directly and to Steve by email and they are absolutely terrified of being made scapegoats for all this which would be totally unfair.

"He acted as quickly as he possibly could as soon as he got ill. They are a lovely family.

"He is feeling fine now and Cathy is hoping he will be able to leave isolation and come home soon.

"They are just obviously very concerned about being made scapegoats in all this."

Hove resident Mr Walsh had previously released a statement in which he expressed his gratitude to the NHS for their work and said he had fully recovered from coronavirus.

He is currently in an isolation unit at St Thomas' Hospital in London.

The 53-year-old said: "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."

Since Mr Walsh's case was confirmed on Thursday, four further patients have tested positive for the virus in Brighton and Hove.

Several GPs and schools have been closed after coming into contact with the virus and many people have been contacted by Public Health England, who advised them to "self isolate" to prevent the spread of the disease.