Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Saturday announced that 3,000 random tests will be given in all districts after the latest so-called ‘orphan’ coronavirus cases detected mainly in Limassol.
The testing will start within the coming days, the minister said, expressing his concerns over the detection of local cases with no travel history or who are not contacts of people who had tested positive.
Both cases detected on Friday fell into this ‘orphan’ category. One individual had lost their sense of smell and was tested on private initiative, and the other developed a fever and was tested on their doctor’s orders.
“The virus has not been eradicated from the community yet,” Ioannou told the Cyprus News Agency.
He said 3,000 people would be randomly tested in all districts, mainly in that of Limassol where most of the local cases were detected recently.
Ioannou said that it is important that people who had symptoms and tested positive for the virus acted appropriately and contacted their doctor.
“We want to examine the extent of the virus’ presence in the community,” he said. He added that more details on the random tests would be announced within the coming days.
“I would like to urge once more our compatriots to immediately get in touch with their GPs if they develop coronavirus symptoms such as fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, sudden loss of smell or taste,” he said.
In this way, he said, it will be possible to confirm any Covid-19 cases quickly, to contain them and trace their contacts.
On the possibility of local lockdowns, Ioannou said his ministry was monitoring the situation very carefully.
“Right now, there are no thoughts for a localised lockdown, since we believe that the situation can be managed,” he said.
Ioannou stressed that everyone ought to continue to diligently follow personal hygiene measures and to avoid coming into contact with many people where it is possible.
He also recalled that the use of a protective face mask was mandatory for people offering customer services, such as cashiers and salespersons and employees in restaurants who serve people or prepare food and beverages.
Ioannou pointed out that the good epidemiological picture Cyprus has achieved so far depends exclusively on individual behaviour. “No protocol, no checks from relevant authorities will have a good outcome if everyone’s behaviour is not as responsible, mature and disciplined as it was in previous months,” the minister said.