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Coronavirus: Prevalence in community on the decline

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou

The prevalence of the coronavirus in the community is showing signs of decline, experts agreed on Tuesday, as they decided to ease strict rules on assemblies in Limassol, which had been the location of a recent spike in cases.

During a teleconference between the scientific advisory committee and Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou, it was decided to raise the number of people allowed in gatherings in homes and public venues – excluding restaurants – from 10 to 50. This will be reviewed depending on the epidemiological data next week.

“Despite the fact that the around 2,000 tests from the random screening involving 10,000 people is not a representative sample, they show that the community spread is starting to decline, and the situation is improving,” a health ministry statement said.

Authorities decided to tighten the reigns in Limassol after a sudden spike in cases with several separate clusters.

The jump prompted the government to mandate masks in all indoor areas and step up inspections to ensure businesses were observing the protocols.

The rest of the measures decided for Limassol will remain in place: maximum of 75 people in indoor venues and 150 outside irrespective of area; the number of people in a church would be dictated by the area but no matter how big, the maximum number of people allowed is 75.

All other measures enforced across the island remain in force.

Experts also extensively discussed the need to update protocols or prepare new ones if needed ahead of autumn.

The minister gave instructions for a roadmap to be prepared so that the island is better prepared ahead of the autumn season.

“Special reference was made on the need for the public to be continuously informed about the measures and to cultivate a culture of proper behaviour so as not to have complacency and slackening since the road until finding a vaccine is long,” the ministry said.

Ways of managing asymptomatic cases and infected youths were also discussed.

This was looked at in conjunction with dealing with mass gatherings, which are now banned.

A recent report by the European Centre of Disease Control expressed deep concern over the mass gatherings like concerts, festivals, and fairs.

The ECDC urged member states to avoid organising such events, which make contact tracing impossible when a case is detected.

Related to this is the rising number of infections among the youth who mostly remain asymptomatic and have a more intense social activity, risking spreading the virus in the community.

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