An increase in coronavirus cases is expected in Cyprus during autumn and winter in common with other countries due to the weather conditions and crowding indoors, an expert said on Tuesday.
There is however optimism, however, things will not get out of control.
According to member of the coronavirus advisory committee, assistant professor in internal medicine and infection prevention and control at the European University of Cyprus, Dr Constantinos Tsioutis, case numbers are expected to rise as the temperature goes down.
“It would be desirable for this increase to be controlled and each of us follow in the coming months of autumn and winter what we have learned in the last six months, such as social distancing, avoiding crowded areas and poor ventilation,” Tisoutis told the Cyprus News Agency.
He said that all countries, not only Cyprus, are concerned about how things will evolve in the colder months as life will move indoors and seasonal viruses and flu will return.
Cyprus’ health system, he said, is now armed with experience in dealing with the pandemic while the people are trained in protection measures but extensive planning is still needed on many levels and services including the education and business sectors, the health system, but also at individual level.
An outbreak, he said, could easily happen and would be quite difficult to control due to the increase in viruses in autumn and winter which will lead to more people with respiratory symptoms.
“We will have to wait for more coronavirus cases and be prepared to identify them in time so that numbers are limited but also that cases receive the medical care they need,” Tsioutis said.
On how one can tell the difference between coronavirus and flu symptoms, Tsioutis admitted it will be difficult despite there being differences in the clinical outlook.
“What will definitely play a role is the epidemiological history of the symptoms of a person but also if they have been vaccinated for flu that greatly reduces the chances of them having flu,” he said.
He added that the flu vaccine does not help against coronavirus.
On the debate on the coronavirus vaccine’s side effects, Tsioutis said this is something always discussed when a new vaccine is presented.
“All the vaccines that are approved by the national vaccination programmes are very safe and some side effects can be observed at a low rate and are not worrying,” he added.
Publications from phase two of the clinical trials for the coronavirus vaccine have shown it is safe while the long-term health effects have not been confirmed so far. “When phase three of the clinical trials are completed, we will have information on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and a better picture. However, the international organisations that approve the administration of the vaccines analyse the data very thoroughly before proceeding with approval and the first thing they look at is safety,” he said.
Cyprus, as other EU members, is expected to receive the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The EU is in negotiations with the company for the vaccine in question. Cyprus has asked for 1.2 million Covid-19 vaccines.