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COVID19: Cases will remain high as measures bite

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Experts on the coronavirus pandemic have warned that the current surge in cases will take weeks to flatten out, despite an expected drop in infections within days due to tougher measures.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency on Monday, a specialist in infection control and government advisor Constantinos Tsioutis said that COVID-19 cases appear to have stabilised but are still the dangerously high three-digit region.

The Assistant Professor at Nicosia’s European University said: “We can assume that to some extent some measures are being followed and contacts have been reduced.”

He argued a drop in cases will not signal the end of the crisis, “as this will not mean the danger has passed and that this serious spike has been placed under control”.

By the end of this week health authorities expect cases to fall as a result of recent measures, such the curfew in Limassol and Paphos, mask-wearing everywhere and limits on social gatherings.

Tsioutis warned that the number of active cases in the community is at an all-time high and there is grave concern that patients requiring ICU treatment will increase as admissions to hospital are also on the rise.

“The number of people in ICUs reaching double figures and an increase in the number of elderly people being admitted” would signal that the health system is reaching its limits.

Commenting on whether Cyprus has hit the peak of the second wave of coronavirus, Tsioutis said that would depend on results in the coming days.

Experts are concerned over the large number of asymptomatic cases as they could easily build up clusters, rekindling the outbreak.

“Most certainly, there are more asymptomatic than those already identified. A large portion of recent infections involves young people, who are mostly asymptomatic and go undetected.”

Tsiotis also said that many of the cases have a large number of contacts for which they do not know or don’t remember their contact details.

Cyprus’ total COVID-19 cases stand at 3,545 and 25 deaths.

Health authorities have reported 964 COVID-19 cases in the past seven days.