COVID19: Scientists fear cases will climb

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Scientists expect to see Cyprus COVID-19 cases increase rapidly over the next few days which could signal the need to introduce more restrictive measures.

Following Tuesday’s higher than usual 30 cases, epidemiologists advise the public should go back to adhering to protocols before the need for new restrictions arise.

Talking to Politis radio, assistant professor in infection prevention at European University Constantinos Tsioutis, said fears over the virus spreading has come true as “we have witnessed a large number of clusters forming last week”.

The government advisor said that experts had anticipated the increase as people have relaxed and are not limiting their daily contacts.

Tsioutis said it is still too early to discuss additional restrictive measures, given that only last Thursday restrictions on social gatherings were imposed in Larnaca.

“If in the coming days we see increased cases and transmission chains in other districts, then we should expect new restrictive measures.”

He argues that the majority of recent cases were a result of people violating health protocols.

Field Epidemiologist Valentinos Silvestrou told CNA, that people testing positive are not reporting their close contacts which increases the possibility of the virus spreading out of control.

Silvestros said the Health Ministry’s contact tracing team has a large number of contacts to trace as people are not curbing their social activities.

“We definitely expect an increased number of cases because there are already active chains and some of the contacts of existing cases have reported symptoms, so it is highly likely that they will be diagnosed as cases.”

Tsioutis warned the public the road to a coronavirus-free society is a long one to travel as a vaccine will not be available before March 2021 with the virus still troubling humanity in 2022.

He said no vaccine is 100% efficient and he hoped that the coronavirus vaccine would at least have a 70% efficiency rate.

COVID-19 is nothing like the common flu, as it spreads faster and easier while the healing period is much longer.

It also has lasting effects with long-term scars on peoples’ health as the disease has been associated with heart, kidney, and neurological problems.

Although most people who have died from coronavirus in Cyprus (22) have had a serious medical history.

Currently, some five clusters in Larnaca number more than 70 infections, with a football club cluster closing in on 30 infections.