WESTPORT — A middle-aged South African businessman says he attended a party in Westport days before he was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

The man, who lives in Johannesburg, told the Sunday Times, South Africa’s largest Sunday newspaper, that he had attended a large private party in Westport following a trip to Dubai.

"There were a lot of people at the party and there's no way of knowing who gave it or got it or had it — I could speculate till the cows come home. People were coming in from all parts of America," the man told the Sunday Times.

The man’s comments come more than a week after Westport schools were shut down when more than a dozen people who attended a private party in town started suffering flu-like symptoms.

Mark Cooper, director of health for Westport and Weston, said about 40 people attended the party, and one of the guests, who does not live in the U.S., had been diagnosed with the coronavirus after leaving the country.

Last week, Westport reported its first confirmed case of the coronavirus. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Westport has now reached at least 20 — nearly a quarter of the state’s total reported cases.

All of Westport’s cases have been traced to the party that was held on March 5. The homeowners who hosted the party have declined to comment when reached by Hearst Connecticut Media.

The South African man told the Sunday Times that he didn’t experience any symptoms until his trip back home. At first, he didn’t think much of the illness.

"But in the back of the head, there's the thought that it [COVID-19] is possible," he said.

When he returned home, he tested positive for the coronavirus and has since been in self-quarantine.

"I don't believe I'm the problem anymore," he told the Sunday Times. "It seems that the real problem is now the people who are too scared to say anything. The problem is the ignorance of the public and the ostracism, which will ensue because of people being ignorant, and which will cause more people to stay silent about their infection."

The ripple effect caused by the Westport party was also felt in neighboring communities.

In Wilton, public schools were closed on March 11 after officials learned parents of school-aged children in that town had attended the Westport party.

“Fortunately, they acted responsibly and reported their exposure, which allowed us to take action in an effort to contain additional spreading of the virus,” Wilton First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said during a Facebook Q&A.

“The Westport party is a good example of spread,” she added. “One individual joined up with 39 other people. At the time, no one, including that individual, knew about the virus being present. Those other people then went out into several communities, Wilton, Weston, Westport, New York City and perhaps more, and potentially exposed additional people.”