A group of social club friends accused of causing a local lockdown at the races after a boisterous weekend already had Covid symptoms and were waiting for test results before heading off, one of their partners claimed.
The 15-person busload, including four members of the Lindsay Con Club in Abercynon, South Wales, started their annual 200-mile journey to Doncaster on Saturday.
Upon their return, there was a surge in Covid cases, forcing the Welsh government to lock down the entire Rhondda Cynon Taf area – with the club accused of bringing home the virus.
Donna Clifton, a member of the Lindsay Cons Club, said 15 friends had traveled to Doncaster from South Wales – despite suffering from some symptoms and waiting for test results
Now club member Donna Clifton – whose husband was among those who made the trip – has spoken out in favor of the group's defense.
She revealed that some of them already had Covid symptoms before leaving. And she claimed they didn't enter Doncaster Racecourse themselves, but instead went to a pub and hotel to place bets.
And Ms. Clifton said the group stopped at several pubs on the way there to be wrong.
“It's an annual trip that has been going on for years. They had a bet they had a beer, just like every year.
& # 39; Nothing was done differently. I know they didn't stop at pubs on the way to Doncaster because they never did.
You go straight to Doncaster, to a pub, to a hotel, and back home on Sunday.
The group of friends did not enter Doncaster Racecourse but went to a pub and hotel nearby to place bets
Some people had Covid before the trip but no test results back. There were about 15 of them on the bus. They did the same thing every year.
“You didn't take any precautions because nobody had Covid. So you wouldn't take any precautions. & # 39;
Donna added that those who have since tested positive have suffered flu-like symptoms with a loss of taste and smell.
Hundreds of people in the village of Abercynon have now come to a testing center fearing the virus.
Club treasurer Phillip Brown struck after the club was linked with the trip of the Welsh Government Health Secretary Vaughan Gething.
Mr Brown said the venue was "practically responsible" for the diffusion in Rhondda Cynon Taf, a community that stretches from north Cardiff to the Brecon Beacons.
The weekend getaway associated with the Lindsay Cons Club in the village of Abercynon was accused of causing the local lockdown – club bosses said it was "dragged through the mud".
Lee Brown, who went on the trip, insisted that the Welsh government falsely accused them
The club had to close days before the races due to coronavirus fears – some people later got sick.
Mr Brown said the bus ride itself wasn't operated by the venue – but four or five of its members were in attendance.
He said, “They dragged our club through the mud, practically blaming us for a situation in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and banning us because they believe we are responsible.
'We are not responsible. We have taken all possible steps to help Public Health Wales and the Welsh Government. & # 39;
Lee Brown was one of 15 Abercynon friends who took the bus tour to Doncaster Races.
Brown, 45, insisted that the group didn't stop at all during the 220-mile trip to Doncaster on Friday morning.
He said they stayed at the city's Premier Inn for two nights, visiting only one pub he couldn't remember during their two-day trip.
They couldn't participate in the races as the event was closed to spectators after the first day.
Mr Brown insisted that they had been scapegoated by the Welsh Government blaming a group of Covid cases in the Rhonda Valley for their annual event.
A statement on the course said: "Doncaster Racecourse has not contacted any organization, including the NHS or the Welsh government, to verify the attendance of people in last week's event for pursuit purposes."
Speaking to MailOnline, he said: "It's utter nonsense. We were only in one pub the whole time in Doncaster.
"We were in our own bladder, we didn't mix with others and we certainly didn't bring the virus home with us." Everyone who went was tested and none of us had.
“We're all fine – the Welsh government is just using us as scapegoats. Coronavirus was in the village before we went to Doncaster. "
Mr Gething said the day resulted in a "significant" increase in cases after a busload of friends went on a pub crawl and then raced.
He said at a press conference, “There are a number of clusters in Rhondda Cynon Taf, two of which are significant.
"One is linked to a rugby club and pub in Lower Rhondda, the other is linked to a club trip to the Doncaster races, which stopped at a number of pubs along the way."
He said the trip resulted in "a number of infections".
But Doncaster Racecourse struck back and said they had not received any visitors from South Wales since it reopened.
A statement on the course said: “Doncaster Racecourse has not contacted any organization, including the NHS or the Welsh government, to verify the attendance of people in last week's event for tracking purposes.
& # 39; We also don't have ticket bookings for groups from the South Wales region for the Wednesday event.
"We are in urgent need of the Welsh Minister of Health to clarify the situation."
The Welsh government later tweeted: "We understand that although the party's original intent was to travel to Doncaster racetrack, the party did not enter the racetrack as originally planned."