18 March 2020
Organisers are being advised to cancel or postpone large public events in order to restrict the spread of coronavirus.
The Emergencies Council have followed the recommendation of the Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, and restricted public gatherings for the next ten weeks if they last for more than two days and involve 150 people or more in close contact. People are also asked to be responsible when attending smaller events, based on their own risk profile, with over-65s still advised to socially distance, whenever possible, outside their own homes.
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “I understand that the ramifications of this advice will lead to great disappointment for many people, but the medical evidence is that large events and mass gatherings can significantly contribute to the spread of COVID-19, as well as adding to the pressure on our health and public services.
“Our objective is to minimise the risk to the most vulnerable in our community, and for that reason we will keep the threshold for events under review.
“Officers are already in contact with the organisers of major events but, in addition to recommending that large events are cancelled, we are urging individuals to think about the impact of attending events that fall below the threshold, including regular sporting and social events.
“It is down to us all as individuals to assess whether attending an event will increase the risk of the disease being spread, particularly to friends and family who are more vulnerable than us. We want everyone to consider the latest health advice when deciding whether to attend.”
Event organisers and attendees are being asked to:
- strongly discourage anyone who is sick with fever or respiratory symptoms from attending
- encourage those who are at higher risk of serious illness not to attend
- find ways to give people more physical space so they aren’t in close contact
- ensure adequate supplies of hand hygiene materials and urge attendees to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used
- advise attendees to:
- avoid close contact with other people
- avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth
- cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue - if available - or their elbow
- clean surfaces with disinfecting wipes and other standard cleaners before, during, and after the event.
Information is available online and the helpline +44 01534 445566 is open from 8am to 8pm every day.