Woman may have contracted COVID-19 a month before UK’s 1st case

London: A British woman, who fell ill on January 6, was found to have contracted the novel coronavirus after an antibody test, nearly a month before the UK’s first confirmed COVID-19 case reported on January 29, according to local media.

Susannah Ford said she fell ill two days after she returned home to west London from the Obergurgl resort in Austria, where she had been on a skiing holiday with her husband and two daughters, reports Xinhua news agency.

Yet she was the only one in the family who fell ill.

The 53-year-old art director did not notice the link between her illness and COVID-19, until she read reports about the disease weeks later and related symptoms started to appear.

“It felt like death,” Ford told The Sunday Times. “I ached terribly in every muscle and joint for five days and was too groggy even to go to the Eliot prize for poetry.”

The woman had an antibody test late last month, which showed she was infected with the coronavirus.

But she cannot be completely sure whether she contracted the virus in early January.

“We didn’t go to any clubs or discos, we ate in the hotel every night and were then safely tucked up in bed,” she said.

“But I guess when you are skiing you touch lots of things — ski poles, lift buttons…”

Though her infection time cannot be specified, Ford noted she hasn’t been ill since or come into contact with people who have the virus.

The UK has recorded a total of 295,828 confirmed COVID-19 cases and the death toll currently stands at 41,747.

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