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Coronavirus: Expert says Cyprus could be reaching peak

A deserted street on Wednesday (March 25) as people stayed home

Cyprus could be close to reaching the peak of the coronavirus epidemic based on the data to date, but there was absolutely no room for complacency, an expert said Thursday.

Dr Leondios Kostrikis, professor of biotechnology and virology at the University of Cyprus and member of the health ministry’s advisory committee on the virus, suggested Cyprus could be close to the peak of the epidemic, based on the figures to date.

“It seems that very soon, if all goes well, we will reach the peak of the epidemic,” he told the state broadcaster CyBC.

Kostrikis however, struck a note of caution since it was difficult to tell what the future had in store.

“But under no circumstance does this mean we should be complacent,” he said.

Kostrikis said the experts would have a better picture of the situation in the coming days.

So far, there have been 132 cases in the Republic and 47 in the north.

Five people are being treated in critical but stable condition.

The Republic has carried out more than 3,500 tests so far, but health authorities are looking to expand testing by authorising private labs to carry them out.

To date, authorities have aggressively traced the contacts of confirmed cases, shutting down transmission chains relatively fast, but experts now suggest they should also move to random tests to get a better picture of the situation in the community as a whole.

“I think at this stage we need random tests,” Kostrikis said. “The more tests we conduct, the better.”

Concerns have been raised after the death of a healthy 58-year-old man two days ago. One of the five in critical – but stable – condition was also said to have no underlying health problems. There have also been other cases abroad where patients died without having underlying problems.

Kostrikis said so far the average age of the cases in Cyprus was 50, and it was clear that the coronavirus was not an illness only affecting the elderly.

“This disease can strike down anyone,” he said. “We must all be cautious without exception.”


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