Group blamed for local lockdown 'were awaiting test results' on day out to races

A group of social club friends accused of causing a local lockdown went on a boozy day trip to the races while waiting for coronavirus test results, one of their partners has claimed.

The coach-load of 15, including some members of the Lindsay Con Club in Abercynon, South Wales, embarked on their annual 200-mile trip to Doncaster on Saturday.

Those who have since tested positive are said to have experienced ‘flu-like symptoms’ including loss of taste and smell.

After they returned the area saw a spike in coronavirus cases, forcing the Welsh government to put the whole of the Rhondda Cynon Taf area under lockdown.

Club member Donna Clifton – whose husband was among those who made the journey – has spoken out to defend the group.

She said they did not actually enter Doncaster Racecourse but instead went to a pub and a hotel to place bets.

Donna admitted no one took precautions but said this was because ‘nobody had Covid’. However, she said some were awaiting test results.

‘It’s an annual trip that’s been running for years. They had a bet, they had a pint, same as what happens every year,’ she said.

‘Nothing was done any different. I know they didn’t stop off in pubs on the way up to Doncaster because they never do.

‘They go straight to Doncaster, into a pub, into a hotel, back home on the Sunday.

‘A number of people had Covid before the trip but hadn’t had any test results back.

‘It was about 15 of them on the bus. They did the same as they do every year.

‘They didn’t take precautions because nobody had Covid. So you wouldn’t take precautions.’

Treasurer of the Lindsay Cons club, Phillip Brown, said the venue had been ‘dragged through the mud’ since the scandal emerged.

His club had to close days before the trip because a member tested positive for Covid-19, with around 15-20 members and staff members later becoming sick.

He told Wales Online the trip was not organised by the venue, though for or five members went.

‘We are not responsible. We’ve done every measure possibly to help Public Health Wales and the Welsh Government,’ he said.

On Wednesday, Health Minister for Wales Vaughan Gething mentioned the trip when he announced the area’s lockdown.

He did not name the club involved, although this later emerged, but said a day out to Doncaster led to a ‘significant’ rise in cases.

He said: ‘There are a number of clusters in Rhondda Cynon Taf – two of which are significant.

‘One is associated with a rugby club and pub in the lower Rhondda and the other with a club outing to the Doncaster races, which stopped off at a series of pubs on the way.’

He said the trip led to ‘a number of infections’.

Doncaster Racecourse insisted it has had no visitors from South Wales since it reopened.

It criticised the Welsh Government for failing to verify the attendance of individuals for track and trace purposes.

The Welsh Government later tweeted to clarify the coach-trip did not enter the racecourse.

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