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Coronavirus: govt to consider further measures, meeting on Monday

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Photo: Nicosia's Eleftheria Square (CNA)

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou is scheduled to meet with the scientific advisory committee on Monday to discuss the situation with the pandemic and the possibility of further measures if required as cases have remained in triple digits over the past couple of weeks.

The minister will later brief the cabinet, which has the final say on any measures. Additional steps to stem the spread of the virus will depend on the trajectory of the infections, which will be studied by experts over the weekend using the latest results.

Greece on Saturday said it would expand a night-time curfew on movement and shut restaurants and bars in the most populous areas of the country for one month from November 3. Cyprus has until now followed the example of Greece when introducing new measures with a gap of a couple of days. Other EU countries are also going back to full lockdowns.

Cyprus has seen a steady rise of infections over the past couple of weeks, especially in Limassol and Paphos, where authorities were forced to impose curfews and business closures at certain times in a bid to stem the spread.

The rise in infections was accompanied by a rise in hospitalisations, which, despite still being manageable, has caused concern regarding the future.

If cases continue to be in the high double digits or triple digits, authorities may extend measures across the Republic. Experts already warned of this some days ago.

A full lockdown has been ruled out for the moment but apart from restrictions on operating hours, the health ministry may issue stricter protocols for weddings and other social events.

The sudden spike had dealt a serious blow to one of the health authorities’ main weapons that saw Cyprus successfully tackle the first wave of the virus back in March.

The workload rendered the contact tracing team ineffective thus unravelling the test-trace-isolate strategy the island had been aggressively applying through the spring and summer months.

However, more people have now been hired – already in place since last week – with the team now having 40 staff working around the clock.

Another problem that was not really encountered in March is pandemic fatigue and pandemic deniers, two factors that make the jobs of those trying to contain the spread harder,

There are also people who refuse to disclose their contacts after they have tested positive. Recent figures show that a lot of people choose to test privately, with the authorities not knowing whether they had been isolating or how many people they may have come into contact with.

 



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