COVID19: Cyprus confirms first cases of Indian variant

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Cyprus Wednesday reported the first cases of the Indian COVID-19 variant, as the Health Ministry announced it was detected in four people who were isolated before coming into contact with others.

According to the Health Ministry, four samples sent to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) for specialised tests returned positive for the Indian variant.

The Health Ministry said the samples of the Indian variant detected were from people arriving from ‘Grey’ category countries after obtaining a special permit.

“These people were quarantined in hotels based on protocols and were taken to the rehabilitation centre in Tersefanou when their PCR results came back positive.

“They did not come into contact with other people,” said the ministry.

The four cases of the Indian variant and two with the South African variant involve three people from India, one from Pakistan, one from the Philippines and another from Nepal.

People arriving from Grey category countries must spend 14 days in quarantine. They must also either get a negative PCR test 72 hours before their arrival in Cyprus or get tested upon arrival.

“Despite the measures taken at the entry gates and the conditions for the arrival of passengers according to the country of arrival, there is always the possibility that mutations will enter the community,” the Health Ministry said.

It said these new variants are more aggressive and transmissible.

“The only way the scientific community suggests preventing mutations and curb the aggressive transmission they cause is high vaccination coverage of the population.”

Cyprus health authorities urged people to get vaccinated as soon as possible, so the virus’s risk is reduced.

According to the ministry, the British variant is widespread on the island after 131 samples taken in April came back positive from the ECDC.