There is no risk of coronavirus infection in swimming pools if people follow the health ministry’s protocol, a member of the ministry’s epidemiological team said on Friday, the day when swimming pools opened to the public.
“If the protocols are followed, there is nothing to worry about. The protocols are stricter than I expected and if people follow them, everything will be fine,” professor of microbiology and molecular virology at the university of Nicosia, Dr Petros Karayiannis told the Cyprus News Agency.
Covid-19 is not transmitted through water, especially if contains chlorine.
Karayiannis said that most of the provisions of the health protocols had to be followed by swimming pools even before Covid-19, while the new additions include the social distancing.
The health ministry issued the protocol for the opening of swimming pools on Thursday, saying swimmers and visitors must:
- Comply with the instructions of the staff
- Follow the rules of personal hygiene that are posted in the areas of the swimming pool (hand washing, taking showers, use of flip flops in the locker and shower room).
- Be sure to take a shower before using the swimming pool.
- In case of using the toilets of the facilities, take a shower again before entering the pool.
- Mandatory use of the foot bath, which contains an aqueous solution with 0.3-0.6% available chlorine to disinfect the feet, before entering the pool.
- Wear waterproof headgear.
The maximum number of people that can be found at any time in the swimming pool, taking into account they observe the two metre social distancing measures inside and outside the swimming pool, is currently calculated as follows:
Open swimming pools: 1 swimmer for every 5 sq.m. water surface.
Indoor swimming pools: 1 swimmer for every 10 sq.m. water surface.
Very strict protocols are also in place related to the quality of the water, the disinfection of all public spaces and changing rooms, and the guidelines to be followed if a Covid-19 case is detected.
The opening of swimming pools on Friday is part of the third phase of easing restrictions imposed due to Covid-19.
The third phase, the cabinet decided on June 3, will last until June 24, and not July 14 as under the original plan.
Starting on June 9, Cyprus is reopening malls, airports, ports facilitating cruise ships, the interior areas of restaurants and hotels, theatres and open-air cinemas. Sport championships are also resuming, without the presence of spectators.
At the same time kindergartens and nurseries, along with children’s clubs, outdoor playgrounds, all-day summer and public schools are also opening their doors.
On June 13, casinos are permitted to reopen, along with dance schools, boxing/ kickboxing schools, gyms, theme parks, waterparks and amusement parks.
No final decisions have been taken regarding the fourth phase, apart from that theatres and indoor cinemas will open at the beginning of August.
The restriction on the maximum number of people per gathering will be lifted on September 1, allowing people to have large parties such as weddings.
“If we do not have cases in the community, then large weddings could be carried out more securely,” Karayiannis said.