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COVID19: Cyprus virus transmission now widespread

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Experts believe coronavirus is now widespread in the Cypriot community, no longer confined to small and local clusters while a growing number of people are exhibiting symptoms or need treatment.

Epidemiologists have despaired as a large number of people infected are reporting an even greater number of close contacts which make the tracking and tracing process harder.

Last Thursday’s 104 cases were linked to a record 2,500 close contacts.

In comments to website Philenews, Dr George Nicolopoulos, professor of epidemiology and a government advisor said Cyprus is at a very critical phase.

“We see areas where there is general transmission of the virus, based on the data, we expect an increase in cases and in hospital admissions and probably some admissions to Intensive Care Units”.

He added that experts are concerned over the strain on the public health system as 80% of people testing positive for COVID-19 have displayed symptoms while the number of patients in need of treatment is growing.

Some 19 patients are being treated at the Famagusta General, the reference hospital for COVID-19, another two were in a ward at the Nicosia General. Two more were intubated at Nicosia General ICU unit.

“People may be tired, but it’s now confirmed beyond any doubt but that coronavirus is widespread and this is a fact that should not be ignored,” said Professor Zoe Dorothea Pana.

“Adhering to the measures is a must if we do not want to see more people in the ICU. We do not want to see more people die,” she said.

Cyprus health officials announced 43 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 on Monday after a rollercoaster week that saw a record spike of 202 on Saturday, due to clusters linked to cafés and shisha bars popular among university students.

However, a Health Ministry statement said that the 2,558 tests conducted on Monday did not include samples collected on Sunday when most of the labs were not working.

It added that the targeted testing did not include samples from the football association’s programme of checking players for Covid-19 or from care homes.

Out of the total of 2,558 samples completed on Monday, 1,577 concerned passengers who arrived at Cyprus airports with only four returning positive.

“This means that the remaining 39 cases are the result of only 981 lab tests…That is, one in 25 people tested were found positive for the virus,” said the Health Ministry.

Total infections for coronavirus stands at 2,687 and 25 deaths.