Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Monday it was way too early to draw conclusions from the drop in Covid-19 cases observed in the past couple of days, as Cyprus entered the second week of strict restrictions on movement aimed at stopping the virus from spreading.
“It is better than it was in previous days, but I think it’s very premature to interpret drop in cases as an indication of the virus ebbing,” Ioannou told Politis radio.
Following the spike on April 1 with 58 new cases, there has been a gradual drop to 20 on Sunday, though authorities are still cautious pending the results of two targeted surveys in two so-called hotspots, Paphos and Aradippou.
Ioannou said similar results must continue for several days for them to have a concrete indication on where the epidemic was heading, expressing the hope that this would be the week of stabilisation.
“This is what we want, and hope would happen,” he said, adding that the two weeks ahead were critical.
Authorities have been carrying out tests in Paphos and Aradippou, which had recorded a high number of cases in the past month.
Thirty-nine cases were reported in Aradippou before the authorities decided to carry out some 500 targeted tests over the past three days.
The tests identified four more cases “which is encouraging as regards the particular community,” Ioannou said.
The results from Paphos, where authorities aimed for 1,000 tests, have not yet started coming out.
Paphos was hit hard early on in the epidemic after medical staff at the town’s hospital contracted the virus.
Of its 61 cases, 34 concerned health-care workers mostly working at the town’s general hospital.
By Sunday night, Cyprus has recorded 446 cases.
Thirty patients are receiving medication azithromycin and or hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine as per the decision of an expert committee at the end of last month.
Of reports that a number of GPs were not responding to patient calls, the minister said in a statement later Monday that these were being investigated by the health system (Gesy) supervision commissioner.
Ioannou said Gesy beneficiaries should report such cases to the health insurance organisation.