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Coronavirus: Testing begins in Paphos (updated)

Health professionals at Aradippou on Friday (Christos Theodorides)

Health authorities started targeted testing for the coronavirus in Paphos on Saturday following a high number of cases in the area.

Samples were being taken from residents at the old district officer’s residence in a process that will go on at least until Monday.

Authorities are planning to test around 1,000 people in a bid to get a better picture of the situation in the area, which along with Aradippou, Larnaca, have become coronavirus hotspots.

The list of people to be tested was compiled by the health ministry based on demographic criteria set by the epidemiological unit in an effort to have a correct picture of the situation.

Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos said a small number of people were not responding to calls to get tested while around 18 per cent of the sample, who belong to vulnerable groups, were afraid to go to the venue.

Phedonos said the list included 1.300 people and they expected at least 1,000 to come forward.

The people on the list had been contacted by phone and told to drive to the area at a specific day and time.

They were separated into groups who will arrive every two hours and remain in their vehicles until the process was completed.

They should wear protective masks and those without will be supplied one by the municipality.

A similar process started in Aradippou on Friday.

Aradippou Mayor Evangelos Evangelides said 153 samples were taken on Friday from people working on the frontline like supermarkets, pharmacies, and bakeries.

An additional 200 were expected to be taken on Saturday from individuals who are known to have come into contact with the confirmed cases and others who wanted to get tested.

Any further actions would depend on the test results, he said.

“It is not easy for a municipality the area of Aradippou to be placed in quarantine since there are farmers who go their farms every day to feed and take care of their animals,” he said.

According to the latest data provided by the health ministry’s epidemiological surveillance unit, of the 60 cases detected in the Larnaca district until the end of March, 39 were reported in Aradippou. Cases in Aradippou are mainly women, 59 per cent.

In Paphos, 61 cases were recorded, 34 of which concern health-care workers mostly working at the town’s general hospital.

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