AN Essex cleaner believed to be the first person to contract coronavirus in the UK has told of how she is still suffering the effects of the virus eight months later.

Joanne Rogers, 51, told the Mirror she was put in an induced coma 24 hours after falling ill in late January.

Joanne, from Colchester, had been ill for two weeks when her partner Richard called NHS 111 for advice on February 15.

She was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia.

Joanne was left fighting for her life after the virus triggered a overreaction of the body’s immune system, known as a cytokine storm.

Daughter Lauren, 20, told the newspaper: “Richard came home one day and told me to sit down. He’d been told it was 50/50. He started crying and said, ‘I don’t think your mum is going to make it’.”

Joanne had taken no recent trips abroad and took no test during her 17-day stay in intensive care.

She received an antibody test in June which confirmed she had contracted Covid-19.

Professor Francois Balloux, of University College London, said he believed Joanne is the earliest documented confirmed case in the country.

He told the Mirror: "It is estimated there were around 1,400 separate introductions of Covid-19 in to the UK.

"That’s why in the UK, unlike other countries, there’s really no such thing as a Patient Zero because so many places had it."