Another patient has tested positive for the novel coronavirus bringing the number of cases in the Cyprus Republic to a total 7 while this figure is expected to quickly spiral.
The Health Ministry announced on Thursday the latest case was an individual who had recently returned from the UK and after exhibiting symptoms contacted the 1420 helpline.
According to the announcement, protocols were activated and samples sent to the Nicosia lab which confirmed that it was positive.
The person is in self-isolation and the ministry has already started tracing their contacts.
Once again, the Health Ministry appealed to the public to only use the 1420 helpline to report symptoms and not to seek general information on the virus.
Cyprus now has a total of seven cases, four of which have come from the UK, since the presence of coronavirus was confirmed on Monday.
Turkish Cypriot authorities also announced their first case on Tuesday – a German tourist – in the Turkish occupied north of the island.
Meanwhile, a 4-year-old child treated with symptoms of COVID-19 was found to be negative for the disease.
The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics expects to see the number of positive coronavirus cases increasing as it is receiving a growing number of samples from all over the island.
Dr Christina Christodoulou, the Head of the Department of Molecular Virology of the CING, told the Cyprus News Agency that Cyprus will definitely be seeing the number of people with COVID-19 growing over the coming days.
“We scientists were expecting the virus to come from abroad, through people coming or returning to the island from affected areas. From the moment it has arrived, we can expect to see the local transmission of the virus,” said Christodoulou.
She noted that samples are coming in continuously from Limassol and Nicosia, while yesterday several samples came in from Larnaca. The Institute is testing the samples in the order they come in.
Christodoulou said that the institute gives priority to some samples if asked by the Epidemiological Monitoring Unity of the Ministry.
She noted that the institute had checked 270 samples on Wednesday, and they expected to have a heavier workload on Thursday.
She assured that the institute in Nicosia has adequate staff and equipment.
“Shifts have been created. All of the institute’s staff are basically involved at the moment. All staff members are familiar with molecular biology techniques.”
The head of the Molecular Virology department refuted claims the institute refused to test a specific set of samples.
“There’s a lot of work to be done. We need people’s cooperation and support and not these kinds of rumours. There are people at the Institute who are working day and night.”