COVID19: First clusters reported for several months

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Health authorities reported the first coronavirus clusters for several months involving 23 people, as cases found through contact tracing were kept in single digits.

The Health Ministry reported two separate clusters in Nicosia, one involving 17 teenagers who contracted the virus at a graduation party and another with six people from a wedding reception.

The 17 students were attending a graduation party of a Nicosia middle school (gymnasium) and are aged between 14 and 15.

A student, who had symptoms on the day, transmitted the virus to 16 others.

She was a close contact with a previously confirmed case but was not informed.

The second cluster involved guests at a wedding party attended by around 350 people.

Authorities on Thursday were waiting for the guest list to track patient zero and concentrate the trace and tracking procedure on people who had close contact with them.

Health Ministry spokesperson Margarita Kyriacou said authorities are particularly concerned as the clusters indicate that health protocols are not being followed, especially at social events, which are considered high-risk.

“It has also transpired that people are not forthcoming as regards their contacts, making the problem worse,” said Kyriacou.

In comments to Alpha TV, the head of the contact tracing team, Valentinos Sylvestros, said people who either refused or were late in declaring their close contacts create a serious problem with the more infectious Delta variant.

He said younger people, who have a more active social life, are unwilling to disclose their close contacts, making the task of getting to possible cases before they spread the virus next to impossible.

“We might be several days late before we get to a person that needs to self-isolate,” said Sylvestros.

Infections reported in the past 10 days; only 16% concerned people with one jab, and 5% were fully vaccinated.

The rest of the cases had not been vaccinated, with 30% of them concerning people under 18 who are not eligible for a vaccine in Cyprus.

Outgoing Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou attributed the spike in cases in recent days to the Delta variant.

The EU has warned the Delta variant will dominate Europe by the end of August, accounting for 90% of cases.

A source of concern is the increased hospitalisation of young people, who develop serious symptoms and need special treatment.”

Vaccine take-up had dropped recently, with just 5,900 appointments booked since last Friday, when the online vaccination portal went live for all ages over 18.

Health authorities have reported triple-digit cases for two successive days, with Wednesday’s 167 infections the highest since May.

The Republic of Cyprus has registered 73,999 cases of Covid-19 and 378 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.