COVID19: Minister refutes delay in contacting cases

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Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou refuted accusations of a mother claiming that authorities did not act promptly to inform the family that her son was found positive for coronavirus.

He said the Ministry takes action once it is informed of the results by the lab who carried out the tests.

The woman told Sigma TV on Friday, that her son tested positive through a random testing scheme for footballers carried out by the Cyprus Football Association but was not informed of the result for three days.

During that time, he had infected three of his family members – his father, mother, and brother.

The mother further accused authorities of not contacting her second son who was also found positive on Tuesday, to get a list of his close contacts.

The woman said she and her husband have developed symptoms but were unable to reach the epidemiological surveillance team to report their condition.

“The tracing unit contacts the persons who have tested positive to COVID-19 as soon as it is informed by the relevant laboratories and the procedure of tracing is activated,” Ioannou said in a written statement.

“In most cases, the laboratories also inform the people of their results so that they go into self-isolation until they communicate with the relevant Unit of Epidemiological Supervision,” he added.

Ioannou reminded that if someone tests positive or are evaluated as close contacts of a confirmed case, they must contact their GP who will guide them accordingly.

Earlier on Friday, the Ministry’s Epidemiological Surveillance Unit said it had modified the process of informing those who tested positive for coronavirus, and their contacts, due to a large number of daily coronavirus cases.

“The aim of updating the procedures is to minimise the time required to inform both the cases and their contacts”.

People who tested positive will be informed by phone within the same day as being tested.

If that is not possible, then an SMS will be sent to the person involved. The SMS will include a link to a table with instructions infected people should follow.

“Upon receiving the message, the individual should start self-isolating and begin tracing the individuals with whom they had close contact 48 hours before the onset of symptoms or before testing positive if they are asymptomatic,” the announcement said.

It stated that the unit will be contacting the infected person within 24 hours to get a list of their close contacts.

The confirmed case’s close contacts will then be contacted by the unit to be given instructions.

With cases spiking to three-digits, the number of contacts that have to be traced has also ballooned.