COVID19: Experts to hold emergency meeting after ‘dark red’ downgrade

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Scientists advising the government on handling the coronavirus outbreak are to hold an emergency meeting on Friday evening, worried by daily new COVID-19 cases reaching the critical 1,000 infections.

Cyprus reported a new record 993 coronavirus cases on Thursday, up from Wednesday’s previous record of 952.

Thursday also saw the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) downgrade Cyprus to its highest-risk ‘dark red’ category in its latest update, after the island registered 493.13 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days.

Cyprus is the only European Union country that has been pushed down to the dark red zone, deemed the riskiest from an epidemiological standpoint. It slipped from ‘red’ in the previous ECDC update a fortnight ago.

Hospitalisations have reach 107, the highest since May, with 28 in a serious condition.

Health experts Scientists feel that while the situation is still manageable, cases will be breaking the 1,000 barrier in the coming days, pushing hospitalisations further up.

Virologist Dr Peter Karayiannis, advisor to the government was quoted by the Cyprus News Agency as saying that Cyprus is being hit by a fourth wave of infections, and if health measures are not observed then the situation could get out of hand.

Karayiannis said that “it is obvious health protocols are not being observed, especially at night clubs, which appear to be at the centre of the new wave of infections”.

Asked if they will be tabling a proposal for tightening measures, Karayiannis said that time should be given to the new set of measures to pay off.

“We will have to wait another couple of weeks,” he added.

As of Friday, the government has reinstated the use of the SafePass for access to outdoor facilities at hospitality venues and social events.

Concluding, Karayiannis said that, “if there is strict monitoring of measures, we will gain control over the outbreak. If we decide to turn a blind eye to violations, then we will not be able to limit the spread of the virus.”