COVID19: 100 students, teachers isolating after Scotland trip

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Health authorities are looking into whether the management of a Limassol school is to blame for a large cluster of COVID-19 cases, which has 100 students and teachers self-isolating after a trip to Scotland.

The Health Ministry said at least 90 students and around ten teachers at a Limassol technical school are in quarantine after a cluster of COVID-19 cases following their return from a trip to Scotland.

Spokesperson Konstantinos Athanasiou said the ministry is looking into whether the school had instructed students to return to class while knowing that a teacher escorting students on the educational trip to Scotland tested positive for coronavirus.

Reportedly, a teacher had tested positive on the group’s arrival at Larnaca airport on 1 December.

The school’s principal instructed all students and teachers who did not test positive to present themselves in class the following day.

The group was made up of 36 students and six teachers.

Since arriving back, and spending two days at school, another four teachers and ten students have tested positive.

“We have been told that the students and teachers who should have been registered as close contacts were instructed to go to school, despite some already developing symptoms on the Thursday, Friday and Monday after their return,” said Athanasiou.

“It will be investigated who made a mistake and why some did not follow the health protocols.

“This is something that needs to be investigated and will be investigated.”

Athanasiou said the case raises how close contacts who are vaccinated should be treated.

He confirmed that vaccinated teachers were instructed to go to class as, under the existing protocols, close contact who are vaccinated do not need to self-isolate.

“This is something that will be reviewed by the team of scientists advising the ministry on coronavirus, and a suggestion to tweak protocols will be tabled.”

Athanasiou said that following the cluster’s emergence, the ministry had sent three mobile testing units to the school with instructions to test everyone.

On Tuesday, 50 cases were reported at schools through the Health Ministry’s free testing programme that netted a total of 131 cases from 31,176 tests that day.

Larnaca teacher

Meanwhile, Politis daily said a Larnaca teacher, aged 51, died from COVID-19.

It said the teacher was a COVID denier, known for his anti-vax and anti-masking views, refused treatment after falling ill, and died at home.

Sources quoted by Politis say the teacher was behind a cluster at a Larnaca primary school where he taught as he refused to wear a mask during class.

After testing positive, his entire class and colleagues were told to self-isolate.

The Ministry of Health has not yet announced his death; an autopsy must be performed first because he died at home.

However, sources close to the 51-year-old say he had fallen ill, went into isolation and died on Tuesday after refusing to be hospitalised.