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Coronavirus: rise in cases putting pressure on contact tracers

An increasing number of coronavirus cases are expected in the coming days, according to the latest data,  field epidemiologist, Valentinos Silvestros, said on Wednesday.

Silvestros works in the tracking team.

There were 30 Covid cases recorded on Tuesday, the highest daily tally in months.

Silvestros told CNA, the tracking team has to deal with a large number of contacts from each case due to the family, professional and social activity of each person who tests positive for the virus.

“We are definitely expecting an increasing number because there are already active chains and some of the contacts of existing cases have also reported symptoms so they are very likely to be diagnosed as cases,” he said.

This means the tracking team is having to deal with more and more contact tracing, much more than during the lockdown, Silvestros said, because more people are moving around.

“If today we have 30 cases and if some of them have from 30 to 100 contacts, the cases multiply from week to week,” he said.

He said it was very important that contacts are found quickly and are restricted so that the spread of the virus can be limited.

“Cases have been observed, which we later realise were contacts of cases that had not been reported,” he added.

“This is very worrying because there is no reason to do the tracking process if they are not detected in time – it only makes sense when contacts are made within 24 hours otherwise if we do not detect them in time and they circulate outside the community there is a risk of spreading the virus.”

Silvestros said the work of the tracking team becomes more and more difficult the more contacts a person has. “Let me give you an example – if a child goes to school he can interact with his classmates, in the afternoons he plays with the children in the neighbourhood, there are cases where they are in football academies, they come in contact with many children, they have contact with relatives. All this can be up to 100 contacts. “This is a large number for us to control,” he said.

Asked what the largest number of contacts so far was, Mr Sylvester said he was in the early cases of March to a public doctor who had 200 contacts.

He stressed the need for people to behave responsibly for the benefit of public health. “Everyone should limit their contacts, know who they came in contact with and give the information when needed so that the tracking process can identify cases in a timely manner,” he added.

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