The number of known active cases surged by 35 on Thursday – pushing the total to 181 – following six consecutive days of decreases.
The sudden rise was fuelled by a cluster stemming from a private event at a hotel, which is also believed to be linked to recent cases among school pupils. Yesterday the number of known active cases rose further, hitting 200.
In a press briefing on the planned coronavirus vaccination programme yesterday, Chief Minister John Le Fondré (pictured left) said that ‘relevant action’ would be taken if any laws had been broken.
‘This is more than disappointing if they broke the guidelines and/or the law.
‘We have got to try to establish what exactly the facts were. We have got to establish what were the exact numbers, what was actually happening in there.’
The Senator stressed that it was important to discover whether either the venue or the guests had broken the law, which could result in a prosecution, or had only breached guidance.
Some Covid restrictions, such as venues enforcing social distancing and capping numbers, are legally enforceable, while others are only ‘strongly recommended’.
He added: ‘If breaches took place in the law, then I would fully expect for the relevant action to be taken. It also depends on what action the venue took to manage that event, and they are the kind of facts we have got to establish.’
Senator Le Fondré said that as well as investigating any breach, the authorities had acted quickly to trace, test and isolate direct contacts of those at the party who tested positive.
‘Let’s be very clear, the crucial thing with what we are doing is contact-tracing and testing. What we have got to make sure is, having identified the cluster, we get that cluster isolated, clamped down to stop that spread. That’s what’s happening through the measures that have taken place and that is why we have been reporting this increase just when we were in that tipping point when we were hoping it would start to go back down again.’
During the briefing Health Minister Richard Renouf said that tougher restrictions could be enforced if Covid measures were not followed.
‘It makes me really angry that some people think they can do this. All gatherings are a risk if people don’t consider the implications,’ he said.
Deputy Renouf warned that although some legal measures were not yet in place, it was still possible that action could be taken if there were breaches of licensing laws.
‘This incident took place on licensed premises, and if it was held irresponsibly, then there could be some culpability – we have already seen some instances of that,’ he said.