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COVID19: New normal of social distancing here to stay

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Cypriots will have to get used to the new normal of social distancing and wearing face masks at least until next year, said infection control expert Constantinos Tsioutis.

“We will continue to live with coronavirus and for this reason, in the next few months, we will not be able to return to pre-COVID19 norms of behaviour,” Tsioutis told CNA.

He said the basic prerequisite to return to normal is for the population to be sufficiently immune, which in turn means that many will have to get ill.

“This is what we are trying to avoid at this moment for public health reasons,” he said.

Another method of making the community immune to COVID-19 is via mass vaccination, but there is no coronavirus vaccine or effective treatment.

“Taking this into account, all protection measures that we apply in our daily life will continue at least until the beginning of 2021,” said Tsioutis.

“Personal protection measures, keeping our distance and keeping an eye on close contacts will be part of our routine for many months,” he added.

The assistant professor said that even if Cyprus reaches zero cases in the next few days, people should not change their safety procedures or stop social distancing.

He also noted that current high temperatures are also helping efforts to contain the virus, as more people will stay outdoors and will avoid overcrowding, reducing the risk of transmission through close contact.

Tsioutis also believes that pupils will return safely to the classroom and said tests conducted in school indicate low levels of positive COVID-19 cases.

Tsioutis is a lecturer of Internal Medicine & Infection Prevention and Control at the European University and member of the government’s scientific committee on the pandemic. (source CNA)