COVID19: Going to the beach is safe if social distance observed

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Close contact with other people poses a risk of transmitting coronavirus and not going to the beach, lecturer of infection prevention at the European University, Constantinos Tsioutis told CNA.

He underlined the virus is quite sensitive to environmental conditions such as high temperatures and cannot survive for more than a few minutes.

As the hot weather beckons, Cypriots will be allowed to visit the beach from June 1 under the lockdown exit plan.

Tsioutis, a member of the Health Ministry’s scientific advisory body was commenting on the public’s concern about beach safety and swimming pools with temperatures on the rise.

He assured bathers that the beach and pools do not pose any risk as far as the water is concerned, noting however the danger lies in the crowds that gather at these sites and close contact between swimmers.

Tsioutis explained the virus is sensitive to the sun’s rays, because of the high temperature and UV radiation it cannot survive for more than a few minutes and tests have indicated so.

The danger lies with crowded open areas and close contact between people, Tsioutis advised the public to avoid close contact and maintain distances even outside the water.

Those who have respiratory infections should avoid the beach, he said, adding that people who live together should preferably visit the beach together and in small groups and avoid contact with others and sharing items.

He said people should use their own sunbeds while organised beaches that rent out sunbeds should regularly decontaminate them as well as umbrellas and tables.

Tsioutis argued that as long as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cyprus remain low, there is nothing to worry about.

He said that the scientific body believes there are still cases in the community as well as a diaspora of the virus.

He believes there will be an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases and a small increase is to be expected after the measures were relaxed on May 4.

“We will be worried if we see a surge of cases and if they become more than five per thousand tests for consecutive days.” (source CNA)