COVID19: Fear over cases rise after schools open

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Government scientists are concerned about the recent uptick in the COVID-19 cases since schools reopened last week.

Professor of Virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School, Petros Karayiannis, told the Cyprus News Agency there is a concern because children who have not been vaccinated go to school, and no PCR or rapid test is performed.

Since the Delta variant is predominant in Cyprus, it is easily transmissible to children, who can become ill and infect others.

“There is concern on how things will develop.”

Last week, when children in secondary schools returned to class, 13 isolated positive cases were reported among students and two teachers.

Secondary school students, he said, are more mobile and mingle between them.

Dr Karayiannis said the need for self-protective measures within schools when, for example, they are playing outside or chatting while sitting on a bench is necessary.

The source of infection, he said, could be outside school, and they, in turn, take the virus to school and then their homes.

“There is a grave concern mainly in families with unvaccinated persons.”

The professor advised using masks whenever possible, or at least when in class, and exercising caution during their activities.

“Parents need to tell children to be careful.”

Asked what will happen if clusters are detected, he said protocols are clear, and schools will not close down.

“The children’s contacts will be traced, and we hope there will not be any clusters.

“This is what we are all trying to avoid.

“I believe it is a little bit impossible to avoid it altogether, but at least we can try to contain it.”

“We have said on many occasions that we must learn to live with the virus, and we will manage that without restricting people, by maintaining self-protective measures as we did in the summer.

“We had the biggest wave in Cyprus, but due to the vaccination coverage and self-protective measures, the economy continued to function, and we managed to gradually decrease the number of cases from 1,152 to 120 on average in the last three days.”