COVID19: Vaccination best weapon against outbreak

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Scientists argue that the best measure in combating Cyprus’ fourth wave of coronavirus is encouraging more vaccinations sooner rather than later.

Maria Koliou, assistant professor of infectious diseases at the University of Cyprus and member of the government’s COVID-19 advisory committee, said scientists are concerned about rising hospitalisations.

“We are really concerned over the increase which will put pressure on the health system.

“We believe that we need to encourage vaccination as it is the most fundamental and immediate measure that can be taken,” Koliou said.

New coronavirus dipped below the 900-marker to 849 on Sunday, having breached this level three times during the past week with a record 993 on July 8.

On Sunday, hospitalisations continued to rise, topping 139 patients admitted for treatment, of whom 34 are critical.

The COVID-19 committee met last week to discuss rising infections but did not consider new measures.

“To take new measures, there must be great pressure on the health system, just like we had in the winter…the situation has improved.

“We need to focus on encouraging our vaccination coverage and continue to monitor the situation,” Koliou told CNA.

“The greater the percentage of people vaccinated, the better, and we should not forget personal protection measures, that is keeping our distance, good ventilation and wearing masks in areas where there are many people.”

Koliiou said it wasn’t just the Delta variant driving the new outbreak but social behaviour.

“Unvaccinated Young people are going to parties, graduation events and weddings where no measures are being taken.

“We know it is present in Cyprus, and according to EU estimates, it will continue to affect Cyprus in the next weeks because it has high transmissibility, greater than the British variant.”

Koliou said it would take more than a week to see a difference in the number of cases and curb transmission chains.

“We will possibly see an increase in the next few days, followed by a decrease.”

In the past 16 months, Cyprus has confirmed 84,272 COVID-19 cases and 380 deaths.