A 59-year-old NHS worker said that an antibody test revealed that she contracted the novel Coronavirus in December 2019, more than a month before the UK first reported its first official COVID-19 case.

The NHS worker, Sue Reader from Ogwell, Devon, believes that she got the virus during a trip to the Chinese Visa Application Centre in London on December 16. She did not develop Coronavirus symptoms until December 30, including acute shortness of breath, fatigue, and loss of smell—which later understood as the usual symptoms now associated with the deadly virus.

In June this year, Reader did an antibody test which proves that she had contracted the virus. Until now, it is believed that on January 29 UK reported the first COVID-19 cases after two Chinese nationals from the same family staying at a hotel in York fall ill and UK authorities confirmed the first case of the illness to be passed on inside the country on February 28 this year. But if Reader's case is to be trusted, then it can be believed that the virus was active in the UK much earlier than we know.

Patient-Zero
NHS worker claims antibodies prove that she caught the deadly virus in last December (Representational image) Pixabay

Government in Denial

The deadly Coronavirus originated in China's Wuhan and that is the claim trusted by many people, as well as experts around the world. But as per, Zeng Guang, who is the former chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Wuhan was where the coronavirus was first detected but it was not where it originated."

The NHS workers said, "It just seems to me the government is in complete denial by saying they don't believe it was in this country before the end of January." As per Reader, she did not claim that she is the Coronavirus patient-zero of the UK. "But I may well have been the first in Devon, simply because of the circumstances in which I contracted it and the fact I was at home in bed completely floored by it," she added.

As per Reader when she visited the Chinese Visa Application Centre she was staying at her parents' place which is in Henley-on-Thames. She wanted to go to the Great Wall of China for a holiday.

People Were Already Experiencing Symptoms

Novel Coronavirus
Novel Coronavirus spread Pixabay

The NHS worker explained that during her visit to the application center she noticed people inside the building were coughing and spluttering. "I always notice this type of behavior because I am the type of person who never gets sick. I lead a very healthy lifestyle but the coughing was very apparent," she added.

She believes that when at the visa center she was taking photocopies of the documents, touching the cash machine, and having a face-to-face discussion with the staff, she could have contracted the Coronavirus. But she did not notice any health issues till December 30.

"I had a high temperature, I was aching, I couldn't breathe and I was hallucinating," said Reader and she told her family, "do not let anybody come into my room...whatever I've got nobody wants it". She was concerned that she would pass the disease to her elderly father who had heart issues. She drove back to Ogwell on January 1 despite her health issues and spent the next month in isolation.

By that time China started reporting several Coronavirus cases but the UK was unaware of the approaching pandemic. When in June Reader undertook the antibody test, it came positive. This means her body had already built the protection and she had the virus. Now, the NHS worker is suffering from long-term health issues, known as "long-COVID".