Cyprus should brace itself for the spread of COVID-19 as the outbreak will get much worse before it gets better, experts predict.
The spread of the novel coronavirus is expected to reach its peak over the coming two weeks, says a geneticist and professor of molecular medicine.
Dr Constantinos Deltas, Director of the University of Cyprus Research Center for Molecular Medicine told the Financial Mirror that he expects to see the number of cases to significantly increase over the coming weeks before Cyprus gets a grip of the virus.
“We are at a critical point. Measures taken by the state are in the right direction but the key to success is people’s attitude and compliance with the measures,” said Deltas.
“If we do not want to walk in Italy’s footsteps, people need to follow the authority’s instructions no matter how harsh they may find measures to be,” he added.
Dr Deltas argued that draconian social distancing measures and travel bans are necessary despite criticism fired at authorities.
“The government was right to close the airports for a few days, based on the data we have before us.”
He added that the only criticism he may find valid is the one claiming the government came late to the table.
“On the other hand, they acted upon data they had at hand, and let us not forget that we have never been faced with such a situation in the past.”
He believes the authorities reacted in time but did not know which the right measures were to take, that is why there seems to be some confusion when measures were announced.
“The only thing I find problematic was the government’s decision to quarantine en mass people who came from countries with an outbreak.”
“Putting three to four people together in the same room is dangerous as if one has the virus, then they will certainly pass it on to the others. I believe this is being corrected with moving people to hotels where each of them can be isolated in a single room.”
The success of quarantine will boil down to how well people abide by the rules and instructions given to them.
He explained that the transmission of a virus is like a chain reaction with each person who contracts the virus passing it on to another two people on a daily basis.
“We are warm-blooded Mediterranean people who hug and kiss each other very frequently. We will have to change our habits, at least until the authorities are able to stem the spread of the virus.”
He called on everybody to understand the seriousness of the matter, and to self-isolate for the coming period.
Deltas noted that there are a number of people who have picked up the virus and are going about their daily lives unaware, spreading it to others.
“This is proven by the orphan case of a man who doctors do not know how he got COVID-19.”
He called on young people to take the virus seriously and not act recklessly thinking that they are not in danger of falling seriously ill.
“Someone may contract the virus, and get over the disease without developing any symptoms, however that person will pass it on to another five, possibly older members of his or her family.”
Deltas urged the government to come down hard on people not who break the restrictions.
“This is the only time when the state is legitimized to act with fanaticism. When it comes to such serious health issues. The same goes with people, they should follow the instructions to the letter”.
He said that no one can predict how long authorities will have to keep social distancing measures in place or when the virus will disappear.
But Deltas expects to see cases start to decline after a period of two weeks.
“This is the best-case scenario as long as the state and citizens abide by regulations and measures imposed by decree.”