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Coronavirus: Cyprus in ‘uncharted waters’ says health minister

Construction workers in Nicosia on Monday

Expecting to reach zero coronavirus cases is utopic, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Tuesday admitting that Cyprus, like all other countries, is currently in unknown waters as regards easing restrictive measures.

The minister told the Cyprus News Agency that there is no reason for concern because coronavirus cases have not reached zero yet.

Like all countries, Ioannou said, Cyprus is currently entering “uncharted waters” and taking decisions based on the situation.

Ioannou said that the daily number of new cases is quite low and this allows experts to be optimistic about the future.

“This was, among other things, a factor that contributed to the gradual restart of society and the economy,” the minister said, noting that it would be utopian to expect zero cases.

“We have not seen it happening in any country among those that have begun to lift their restrictions,” he said.

Ioannou said there is no secret recipe for the transition to the next phase, stressing that coronavirus will be part of everyone’s lives until a vaccine is discovered.

“Having this in mind, we must continue our efforts to keep Cyprus among the last places on the map of cases and in the first places in terms of diagnostic tests,” Ioannou said.

In any case, he said, “we must remain committed and disciplined,” arguing there is no luxury for setbacks.

The minister said that returning to normalcy would take time and cannot be done hastily but rather with targeted and careful steps.

Replying to a relevant question, he said that “it is too early to say that we are or feel safe.”

On the possible increase in cases from the easing of measures, the minister said that this is inevitable, stressing that the goal remains to keep the number of cases low.

“It is something that has been observed in all the countries that have lifted their restrictions,” he said.

Regarding the number of people with coronavirus who need treatment or even admission to intensive care units, Ioannou stressed that the numbers of such cases should be kept low.

“These numbers seem to have been stabilising for a few days now at quite low levels and we want them to stay that way so that we can move forward with more certainty,” Ioannou said.

The minister also said there were no serious problems on Monday, which was the first day of the relaxations of the restrictive measures.

He said some minor problems were observed on construction sites, but it was not due to disobedience but rather insufficient information, maintaining that the situation will improve as days go by and everyone would be in a position to comply with health and safety instructions.



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