Health officials on Saturday urged young people yet again to get vaccinated to keep the Delta variant at bay and avoid a new outbreak similar to the one caused by the Alpha variant a few months back.

When the Alpha variant hit Cyprus in December, it caused the most significant outbreak of coronavirus in Cyprus despite all restrictive measures and strict border control, head of the advisory committee on coronavirus Constantinos Tsioutis told the Cyprus News Agency.

Recent measure relaxations, combined with good weather and freedom of movement, allow for more interaction with others which can also pose an infection risk, Tsioutis said.

Since those between 18 and 40 are the most socially active and have a lot of contacts, they have greater chances of being asymptomatic if they catch the virus which means they can also spread it without their knowledge.

Tsioutis also said that based on what we know, Cyprus must prepare for the likelihood of a new outbreak by boosting the three weapons available: contact tracing, personal protective measures and vaccinations.

A study quoted by the health ministry showed that two doses of the anti-coronavirus vaccine were effective in stemming the spread of the Delta variant.

An announcement said that while the vaccination rate is very satisfactory among those aged 40 and over, especially for the elderly, the same does not apply for those under 30 where the jab rate is around a quarter to a third.

The ministry said that as of June 18, 62 per cent of the population had received the first dose of the anti-coronavirus vaccine, while 44.1 per cent was fully vaccinated.

Paphos continues to lead as the district with the most vaccinations at 68.9 per cent, followed by Nicosia (62.6 per cent), Famagusta (60.9 per cent), Limassol (59.2 per cent) and Larnaca (57.5 per cent).

A whopping 90.8 per cent of those aged 80 and over and 91.8 per cent of those between 70 and 79 have been vaccinated, with percentages steadily falling with every age group.

Around 80 per cent of those in their 60s have received at least one jab, while for those in the 50-59 age group the rate was 69 per cent.

In addition, 70 per cent of those aged between 40 and 49, and around half of those in their 30s, have been vaccinated.

When it comes to younger people, the ministry reported that only 25.8 per cent of 18-21 year olds and 32.9 per cent of 20-29 year-olds have been jabbed.

Speaking to CyBc radio earlier in the day, Professor of Microbiology/Molecular Virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School Petros Karayiannis said the Delta variant mostly affects unvaccinated young people, urging everyone to schedule a jab appointment.

“We must make it clear that the pandemic is not over,” Tsioutis said. “There is no vaccination coverage percentage or date that will determine the end of the pandemic”.

“Measures protect us, and as long as the virus keeps being transmitted, we’ll need to keep implementing them”.