THE Conservative leader has apologised for causing "unnecessary alarm" after a Tory councillor said the coronavirus outbreak was "spiralling out of control".

Brighton and Hove Tory leader Steve Bell apologised on behalf of the party yesterday after fellow councillor Samer Bagaeen accused health chiefs of "intentionally hiding" information from the public.

Cllr Bell did not refer specifically to Cllr Bagaeen in his statement.

"Some recent comments by one of our colleagues about coronavirus were reported today," the Tory leader said.

"The comment may have caused unnecessary and avoidable alarm.

"That was not the intention and I would like to apologise on behalf of our group."

Cllr Bell said the Conservatives would now concentrate on reassuring Brighton residents.

"We take our role as city leaders very seriously and we’ve been seeking information about the fast-moving situation," he said.

"We’ve been fully briefed on the situation, including face-to-face by the executive director of health and adult social care.

"There is no doubt the news that coronavirus is in our city is worrying and we need a proportionate response."