COVID19: Larnaca clusters may trigger local restrictions

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Experts are concerned over Larnaca becoming the source of large clusters in the past weeks while contemplating restrictions as four transmission chains have caused 56 coronavirus cases.

Virologist and advisor to the government on coronavirus, Dr Leondios Kostrikis told ANT1 TV channel on Tuesday that experts are especially worried over large transmission chains in Larnaca.

Dr Kostrikis said the team of Health Ministry experts handling the COVID-19 crisis, is contemplating whether they should recommend that a series of restrictions be applied in the district similar to those implemented in Limassol last month when the virus spread mainly through a cluster linked to the marina.

“Currently there are four considerably large clusters in Larnaca which are growing. The largest one started at a workshop made up of 24 cases and including people who tested positive at the Larnaca Bishopric,” said Kostrikis.

“We are puzzled over how to respond to these clusters. We are constantly in communication and if clusters continue to grow, then measures similar to those taken in Limassol during the summer may be imposed.”

He noted that the second largest transmission chain involves a cluster formed at Larnaca-based football club Nea Salamina. This chain has grown to 20 players and staff with many more in self-isolation.

“We’ve also been informed of a third large cluster formed at a hotel unit in the town. As you can see the largest clusters are currently being formed in Larnaca.”

Kostrikis was referring to a cluster of nine cases, related to the Golden Bay Hotel.

Meanwhile, a fourth chain originated at Ocean Basket restaurant of 4 people found positive to the virus.

Earlier in August, health authorities imposed on the Limassol district a set of social restrictions.

These measures meant that no more than 10 people could be present at any social gathering while a ceiling of 75 people for indoor and 150 outdoor catering facilities was reintroduced.

A maximum of 75 people was allowed in church.

Modes of public transport in Limassol operated at 50% capacity.

Measures in the district were in place for the first three weeks of August.