Speculation has grown on social media that Jersey may have already reached the peak of the second wave following a consistent decease in known active cases each day, from 172 last Thursday to 149 by yesterday.
England, where a new national lockdown was imposed on 5 November, has also recorded a decline, with cases falling sharply this week.
But Dr Ivan Muscat has today urged Islanders not to be fooled by the figures, and has sounded a rallying call to the community to pull together and abide by public health measures.
Separately, Health Minister Richard Renouf has confirmed that legislation to make it mandatory to wear masks in specified indoor public spaces was likely to come into force next week.
Dr Muscat said: ‘Case numbers will fluctuate from day to day – some days there will be upward trends and sometimes there will be downward trends – and we must not allow this little dip in our data to make us think we can relax.
‘We are going further into winter and we know this is going to allow for further Covid transmission.
‘I think there is significant potential [for a rise in cases] and we need to put every effort into responding to that.’
Meanwhile, after gaining approval from the States to legally enforce the wearing of masks in specified indoor public spaces, Deputy Renouf said: ‘The order has not yet been made but will be drafted over the next few days and I hope that by next week facemasks will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets, those sorts of places.’
Once the legislation is introduced, breaches could result in a fine of up to £1,000.
Until the law is introduced, wearing masks in indoor public spaces remains a strong recommendation. The minister was also given similar powers to legally enforce restrictions on the number of people who can attend public gatherings.
Dr Muscat said that Jersey was still seeing clusters of cases, which were first identified after the October half-term, and that the greatest risk of another surge would come during the festive period.
‘Unfortunately it [the highest risk period over winter] will be Christmas. We know that Covid is spread through social interaction, particularly at celebratory events, and everyone will need to be careful over Christmas.
‘Another point about Christmas is that it is a time when different generations of the same family mix, and some of those generations will be at higher risk, and I would ask people to think about that.’
He added: ‘We also need to bear in mind that there is a vaccine on the horizon and we will be in a much better position to deploy it if there are few cases in the Island, as healthcare workers will be available to do this rather than caring for the sick.’
Asked if he would propose tougher restrictions for the Christmas period, Dr Muscat replied: ‘Some additional restrictions have recently been agreed by the States and we need to look at implementing those.’