The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Five ski chalet Brits catch virus

Family at the centre of crisis linked to man who’d f lown in from Singapore

- By Stephen Adams and Max Aitchison

FIVE Britons – including a young boy – have been diagnosed with deadly coronaviru­s in France after being whisked to hospital from a ski chalet high in the Alps.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that environmen­tal consultant Bob Saynor, 48, and his nineyear-old son have been named locally as being at the centre of the outbreak.

The father and son were being treated in hospital in France last night, along with three other Britons from another family who were staying in the Saynors’ six-bedroom ski chalet.

Mr Saynor’s two other children and four Britons from the other family were being kept in isolation in French hospitals as a precaution.

Stunned locals in the sleepy village of Les Contamines-Montjoie, near Megeve, expressed shock after medics airlifted the families out of the isolated resort on Friday afternoon.

A friend of the family, Louise Gasparelli, said Mr Saynor and his wife Catriona, a doctor, had moved from Brighton to live permanentl­y in the chalet three years ago.

French health minister Agnes Buzyn last night said it was believed that all five cases were linked to a British man who had stayed there following a business trip to Singapore, where he had contracted the virus. The middle-aged British man – also from Brighton – flew back to the UK where he fell ill and alerted the NHS. He was being treated in St Thomas’s Hospital in London last night.

Meanwhile, five staff at The Grenadier pub in Hove have been asked to ‘self-isolate’ because the man from Brighton visited the premises last Saturday before falling ill.

The dramatic developmen­t in the Alps came as: A school pupil from Brighton was told by public health officials to ‘self-isolate’ for 14 days;

A British family of four who live in Majorca are waiting to hear if they have the virus;

The global death toll reached 805, exceeding the 774 killed by SARS in 2002 and 2003;

China launched a crackdown, rounding up those suspected of having the virus and putting them in quarantine;

A jet commission­ed by the Foreign Office to bring back more than 200 Britons from virus-hit Wuhan is due to arrive today.

The alarm was raised in the Alps on Friday when people staying at the Saynor family’s large chalet began to fall ill. Chris Hopkinson, who lives in Les Contamines­Montjoie, said a helicopter and several ambulances descended on the village and took the affected

Britons away. He described the ski resort near Mount Blanc as ‘just about the last place you could imagine the virus to reach’. Mayor Jean-Marc Peillex said two schools had been closed as a precaution.

Because it is the height of the ski season, the resort is full.

Two of the apartments in the resort were being examined, health officials said, adding that no other people in the village had been affected by the outbreak.

In Brighton, a pupil at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy – who is thought to be related to

‘Just about the last place you could imagine the virus would reach’

the initial Singapore case – was told to self-isolate as part of the public health alert. The school said it had been told there was no need for it to close.

In Majorca, a 46-year-old father was quarantine­d in the island’s main hospital, Son Espases, after he came into contact with a coronaviru­s sufferer. His wife and their two daughters, aged seven and ten, were later admitted to the same hospital. All four family members were undergoing tests to see if they had contracted the killer virus.

The ten-year-old tested positive for a common strain of flu but none of the other three family members is said to be showing any signs of ill health.

The father, who lives in Marratxi, close to the island capital of Palma,

went to the hospital on Thursday and told medics he had been in contact with a person who had tested positive for the virus in France.

He was in France between January 25 and 29 before returning to Majorca by plane. The identity of the person he came into contact with has not been revealed.

Health officials told a press conference in Spain yesterday that only the father had contact with the confirmed French case.

The results of their tests will be analysed at a lab in Madrid, with health officials expecting results within 24 to 48 hours.

Spanish officials have said the passengers who were on the plane the British father took from France to Majorca will be contacted only if he tests positive for coronaviru­s. A 747 chartered by the Foreign Office left Wuhan last night carrying more than 200 Britons and dependants, on a direct flight to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshir­e. They will then be sent by coach to Kents Hill Park, a conference centre in Milton Keynes, where they will be kept in quarantine for two weeks.

In Japan, British honeymoone­r Alan Steel – who caught the virus on board the cruise liner Diamond Princess – was transferre­d to hospital. His wife Wendy posted on Facebook: ‘Alan is well, Japanese doctors are excellent.’

Coronaviru­s has a 14-day incubation period when a patient may not display symptoms but can infect others through coughs and sneezes. There have been at least 37,000 confirmed infections worldwide.

 ??  ?? AIRLIFT: Bob Saynor, left, who was diagnosed with the virus in the French Alps. Right: His wife Catriona
AIRLIFT: Bob Saynor, left, who was diagnosed with the virus in the French Alps. Right: His wife Catriona
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