COVID19: Schools reopening threaten virus spike

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If schools reopen on January 10, there will be an enormous spread of COVID-19, said government advisor on the pandemic Petros Karayiannis.

The COVID scientific committee member told the Cyprus News Agency that Tuesday’s meeting with Health Minister had to make some tough decisions.

Daily new coronavirus cases recorded in Cyprus have seen a huge spike in the last week. On Sunday, 3,538 new cases were reported with a positivity rate of 3.87%.

Karayiannis said there is concern over the safe reopening of schools, already given a late start after Christmas.

It was hoped that there would have been a drop in cases during the festive season as schools remained closed; however, the Omicron variant did not allow this to happen with more infections in the family environment.

“Therefore, we expect an enormous spread if schools open, and this won’t happen under normal conditions as a large number of kids and teachers are in isolation either because they got infected or because they are close contacts of cases.”

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said he would listen to the opinions of the experts at a meeting on Tuesday.

Karayiannis said, “we need to examine all the figures by the contact tracing unit to see where all the cases are.”

He said that if these cases are in the family environment, there is not much to be done but to limit the number of people in house gatherings from 20 to 10.

Although coming the Christmas holidays, this measure could be meaningless.

Scientists expect a rise in hospital admissions as there are many cases.

Karayiannis also said that there is a rise in intubated patients for the first time, and their number is now more than 30.

Teacher unions

Head of the trade unions of primary, high school and technical education teachers told the Cyprus News Agency there is a great deal of concern because of the high number of cases.

OELMEK high school teachers union boss Costas Hadjisavvas said that rumours should stop whether the schools will open or not and if remote education will be the solution.

He said that schools’ not reopening affects final year high school students waiting for their exams.

Head of POED, the primary school teachers union, Myria Vasiliadou, said schools should open with a physical presence, but measures and protocols should be in place for a safe return.