Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: distancing and masks likely to remain into summer

Photo: CNA

Social distancing measures are likely to remain into the summer, a member of the government coronavirus advisory team said in an interview on Thursday morning.

Addressing concerns over coronavirus variants, vaccines, reopening too soon and other issues, Professor Petros Karayiannis urged caution and further patience.

Asked whether a return to normality by summer is feasible, the Professor of Microbiology/Molecular Virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School said: “In my view, yes we’re a special case… being an island-nation with easy to monitor entry points… so it’s within our hands to adhere to the measures.”

He said the next couple of weeks will be important in ensuring that there are no major setbacks

But when asked on Sigma TV to clarify what type of ‘normality’ it is people may expect in summer, he said that self-protective measures should be anticipated – social distancing, masks and so on – but if Cyprus’ progresses exceedingly well perhaps some more relaxations could be granted.

He was also asked about the possible negative socialisation impacts on young children raised amidst the restrictions – such as shaking hands considered to be abnormal – to which he said: “Very quickly this will change, in any case children are very smart and are able to understand what’s happening; they’re like sponges so when something changes they are able to absorb it without any problems.”

As for the most recent gradual tuning down of the restrictions, he said: “The current situation is not ideal as it could have been for the reopening of the economy, I would have preferred for us to have been in the much lower double-digit range [of daily coronavirus cases].”

He referenced Greece whereby earlier restrictions were eased only for a full lockdown in the capital Athens and the surrounding region to be reimposed, following a rise in hospitalisations.

“We will have ups and downs… I hope that the adherence from the workforce with the rapid tests, while acknowledging all the inconveniences from that, I have to emphasise once again that at the moment it is our only effective tool to monitor the situation and quickly isolate positive cases before further transmission occurs.”

He said that the main goal at the moment is to prevent chains of transmission occurring in the workplace and within households, especially in light of the new, more transmissible variants.

Karayiannis referred to two studies from the United Kingdom which indicate that the ‘British variant’ is 50-55 per cent more transmissible – along with a slightly higher death rate.

“We do not have the luxury to relax measures quickly and easily which may result in a third wave,” he said.

Asked whether the population is in an impossible situation – on the one hand having to work and earn a living while also being told that the situation is dire and nothing should reopen – Karayiannis acknowledged that it’s a “double-edged sword”.

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News

Related Posts

Israeli media: US missiles transited Cyprus en route to Israel

Elias Hazou

Parliament opens lactation room for working mothers

Staff Reporter

Cyprus denies allegations of migrant pushbacks

Nikolaos Prakas

House of Representatives honours Armenian genocide victims

Staff Reporter

Audit office flags diplomatic stipend issues

Nikolaos Prakas

National guard chief: Auditor’s report risks military secrets

Elias Hazou