COVID19: Larnaca clusters subsiding, Limassol causes concern

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Cyprus health authorities have yet to control the outbreak as things are “touch and go” with new coronavirus clusters springing up in Limassol, as the surge in Larnaca and Famagusta subsides.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, Virologist and Health Ministry advisor on COVID, Peter Karayiannis, said the authorities are keeping a close eye on coronavirus clusters formed in Larnaca and Famagusta.

It is hoped recent local restrictions imposed will pay off while attention is turning to Limassol where a number of smaller clusters are beginning to form.

Karayiannis said that while large clusters in Larnaca and Famagusta, formed around football clubs are losing steam, school-related clusters in Limassol are worrying.

“A cluster in the village in Achna (Famagusta), the largest cluster so far with 44 cases was a great cause for concern.

However, it appears that residents have started to comply with regulations, limiting their movements, while they have waived previous objections to being tested,” said Karayiannis.

He added that scientists are concerned over some school students found positive to the virus in the Limassol district.

“Over recent days some eight cases involving school students have been reported in the district which is a cause for concern.

The encouraging aspect is that these cases seem to have followed the protocols once found positive as they have not passed the virus on to family members.”

According to reports, the Grammar School in Limassol has announced that it will remain closed for 14 days after a total of five cases were detected among students.

The private school said it had taken the initiative to switch to remote learning for the quarantine period.

Karayiannis recalled the Health Ministry said all the eight students found positive in Limassol attended the same after-school sport’s facility (which has not been named).

“It is these ups and downs that have us on our toes,” said Karayiannis.

Asked if experts are contemplating introducing new measures in Limassol or other districts, Karayiannis said that measures in place are sufficient, as long as the public adhere to wearing masks and social distancing.

Larnaca is to see restrictions on social gatherings come to an end on Thursday.

Household gatherings in Larnaca are limited to 10 people, while a ceiling of 75 people is placed on indoor catering and 150 in outdoor hospitality facilities.

Another set of restrictions that came into effect on Monday, puts a 14-day freeze on all football activity in Larnaca and Famagusta at academy youth level (under 18s).

“We will be waiting to see how these measures will pay off, and then we will reevaluate the situation together with the Health Ministry,” said Karayiannis.