Covid started a year ago today – but did this bricklayer bring it to UK sooner?
It may be one year since China recorded its first case of Coronavirus but a bricklayer from Dorset thinks he brought it to the UK 14 months ago.
Brian Stoodley, 66, was hospitalised with a mystery illness after returning from a family holiday in Italy last year, and suffered many of Covid’s common symptoms.
He said he had shortness of breath, high temperatures and a severe cough, which left him bed-bound and gasping for oxygen in hospital.
Today marks one year to the day, since the first person in Wuhan is believed to have been infected with Covid-19.
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We still don’t know their identity but Chinese authorities believe it may have been a 55-year old man from Hubei province.
However Brian, from Dorset, believes he brought the virus back to the UK two months before the first official case.
He told The Sun: ‘I thought I was on my way out. I felt as if I was nearly dying, it was that bad.’
He had spent the holiday visiting the Italian capital’s tourist hotspots with daughters Jodie and Erica, and son-in-law Steve Mitchel.
But a week after returning home, he was admitted to Dorset County Hospital where doctors were baffled with his symptoms, which later spread to his children and grandchildren.
He was tested for a number of illnesses and viruses but they all came back negative, leaving doctors stumped.
The revelation comes after the National Cancer Institute of Milan claimed coronavirus was circulating in Italy in September 2019, months before China’s official first case.
Brian says he is ‘certain’ he contracted the virus which China has been accused of covering up.
He said: ‘I couldn’t breathe by myself and it felt like every last inch of energy had been drained out of me.
‘But the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and I spent weeks with the worst cough of my life stuck in bed unable to move.’
Brian said he considers himself fit and healthy, having been a brickie his whole life, and doctors still have not told him what he was suffering from.
His eldest daughter Emma, 44, said she experienced similar symptoms just weeks later and felt like she was ‘hit by a train’.
She was stuck in bed for ten days and said she has never felt anything like it before, suffering from a cough and a high temperature.
The mother-of-four did not travel to Italy but spent time with her dad when he returned home.
Connor Reed is the first known Briton to have caught coronavirus while he was working in Wuhan last year.
The 26-year-old student survived the virus but was found dead in his university room last month.
The uncertainty surrounding Covid’s origin was deepened on Sunday when Italy said they had found evidence it was in circulation a long time before China had claimed.
Scientists in Milan claim to have found Covid antibodies in blood samples taken from cancer patients in September 2019, five months before the country’s first documented case of domestic transmission.
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