COVID19: Cases surge cocktail of fatigue, complacency, variants

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A recent surge in COVID cases is due to a combination of reasons, including public fatigue, new variants, and complacency, lead government scientist Constantinos Tsioutis told the Cyprus News Agency.

Experts on the COVID-19 committee will discuss the new wave in cases with President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday evening.

Professor Tsioutis told CNA the new outbreak is down to lifting the restrictions, which allows a higher number of contacts among Cypriots and the impression the pandemic is over.

He said there is also fatigue after a year and a half living with the pandemic and enduring three national lockdowns.

New variants, mostly Delta (India) and Alpha (UK), have high transmissibility and contribute to the hike in cases.

Tsioutis also pointed to the low percentage of vaccination coverage in the population, especially those with a more active social life.

“It is hard to evaluate how long the outbreak will last for or its extent…what we can do is to try to curb it, using the means available and our experience so far.”

He said hygiene measures and social distancing should be followed by everyone, as protocols in place try to minimize the spread.

“It is up to us to follow these measures and protocols in our everyday lives so that we keep on being safe and not having to worry about new outbreaks.

Tsioutis said imposing restrictions or lifting them is always associated with the epidemiological data, how they change, the culture of the people and the strategy for dealing with the pandemic.

“The picture right now and the data are very different from previous times; therefore, we need to thoroughly analyse and evaluate all the details and make prudent decisions.”

He said people responsible for places where people gather should ensure that no overcrowding conditions exist and social distancing is practised.

Authorities were aware the pace of vaccinations would drop once 60% coverage was reached, as the same happened in other countries.

“Scepticism by some people about vaccines is because of what they read or hear; the authorities should make every effort to modify their approach and the way they communicate the message on vaccinations…so that we regain their trust.”