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COVID19: Testing schemes focus on Cyprus clusters

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Cyprus coronavirus clusters in Paphos and Aradippoou village, Larnaca is the focus of emergency testing schemes by the health authorities to stem the virus spreading.

The Health Ministry in cooperation with Paphos Municipality is to conduct mass-scale random testing of residents in an effort to locate people who have contracted COVID-19.

Paphos has the highest rate of COVID-19 cases on the island at nearly 40%.

Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos said the molecular tests are to start on Saturday after the Cyprus Health Insurance Organisation prepares a list of a 1000 to people to be targeted.

People will be selected by an automated system which will randomly choose a number of citizens, covering all age groups, gender and areas of the district.

Citizens who are to be tested will be called to pass by the drive-through testing facilities to be set up in Paphos.

The mass testing was made possible after the Municipalities of Paphos, Peyia, and the communities of Chlorakas and Emba, along with the local chamber of commerce and Paphos Hotels Association branch, all contributed €10,000.

The Health Ministry contributed an additional €50,000.

The 1,000 tests aim to locate people who are sick with COVID-19.

Paphos’ Mayor said that the second round of testing is to be conducted at a later stage.

This second round will be conducted with speed test in an effort to locate people with antibodies for the disease, thus giving authorities a clearer picture of how the virus has spread through the community.

Aradippou

Cyprus health services on Friday started targeted coronavirus testing from Aradippou residents at a drive-through facility to contain the virus spreading in the so-called hotspot

Testing by appointment is being conducted at a parking lot of the local church Saint Loucas.

According to Aradippou Mayor Evangelos Evangelides, authorities are to make 300 tests – 150 samples on Friday and another 150 on Saturday.

The Health Ministry and the municipality have arranged for the free tests to be conducted in an effort to avert its further spread in the community.

As announced by the Epidemiological Monitoring Unit, Aradippou has recorded a disproportionately high number of COVID-19 cases with 39 so far.

Sample taking is done by appointment, with those being tested remaining in their car.

Evangelides said the 150 people being tested Friday are those working on the “frontline” such as in local supermarkets, grocers, pharmacies, fruit shops, bakeries and kiosks.

Another 150 people, who have come into contact with the 39 confirmed cases in Aradippou will be tested on Saturday.

Evangelides also appealed to residents and businesses to contribute to a special fundraiser so that the municipality can continue to subsidise tests too.

He said the virus spread in Aradippou some 15 days ago during three funerals attended by people who had come from the UK to attend and infected family members.

The outbreak was not caused by people ignoring the strict social distancing rules in the village, said Evangelides.

“For 10 days, municipality officials have been patrolling the streets to confirm that there is no unnecessary movement, no gatherings at homes or anywhere else, and generally the Ministry of Health’s decrees on restricting people movement are respected.”

It is believed the Aradippou outbreak is concentrated among members of three families in the municipality.

The test results are expected to be known by Monday and Tuesday, giving a clearer picture of the situation in Aradippou.