COVID19: Fifth wave may peak in late January

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Cyprus’ fifth wave of the Covid pandemic fuelled by the Omicron variant is estimated to peak by January’s second or third week, said virologist Maria Koliou and government advisor.

This could see daily infections get closer to a staggering 10,000 cases from the current peak of 5,500.

Koliou told CNA there’s a high possibility that the Cyprus health system will be put under more strain due to the Omicron variant’s higher transmission rate.

“We estimate that the (fifth) wave will peak by the second or third week of January followed by a decline in the very high daily cases,” Koliou said.

However, she noted that Cyprus’ high vaccination coverage (around 70%) plays an important role in the health system’s resilience.

Koliou said the advent of Omicron has coincided with an already burdened health system due to the infections with the Delta variant, noting there is a possibility the public hospitals will be further burdened.

“The situation as it stands is that we have an average to high vaccination rate.

“We compare favourably with other EU countries, and I would stress in particular the booster dose rate.”

“I would encourage people who are entitled to the booster shot to have it.”

Koliou said the evidence shows the third shot very effectively protects from serious infection by Omicron.

The second dose also protects before the expiry of six months from its administration.

“We know there is a latency period from the point of increase of infections in the community until hospital admissions rise; therefore, we have the coming days to observe this.”