People with coronavirus suspected of having been infected with the Omicron variant will be transferred to mandatory state quarantine, as two more cases of the new variant were detected in the community, a health ministry spokesman said on Saturday.
There are currently 17 people with coronavirus isolating at the Eden rehabilitation centre in Tersefanou according to the Health ministry spokesman Constantinos Athanasiou. Of these five are confirmed Omicron cases.
Three of them are students who were the first confirmed as having the Omicron variant and belonged to a cluster of cases traced at a Limassol technical school following a school trip to Glasgow the previous week.
Meanwhile another two Omicron cases were traced on Saturday during PCR testing of another 500 students, teachers and other residents.
“Positive cases who may be possible Omicron cases will be transferred to a mandatory state quarantine. He [or she] will be obliged,” Athanasiou said, adding the issue of state quarantine will be discussed at the next cabinet meeting.
A total of 300 students had undergone a PCR test by 1pm, while the rest of their close contacts were expected to be tested by 3pm, Athanasiou said.
In case Eden exceeds its capacity, there are more hotels where Covid-positive people suspected of having contracted the Omicron variant can carry out their mandatory isolation, he explained.
Earlier this week, 90 pupils and teachers from the specific school were self-isolating after 16 tested positive last week following the school trip. The school nevertheless was working as normal, officials had said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible or causes more severe disease compared to other variants, including Delta.
In reference to vaccine protection, the UK Health Security Agency said on Friday that booster shots significantly restore protection against mild disease caused by the Omicron variant.
Specifically, when boosted with a dose of Pfizer vaccine, there was around 70 per cent protection against symptomatic infection for people who initially received AstraZeneca, and around 75 per cent protection for those who received Pfizer.
That compares with estimated protection against infection from Delta following a booster of around 90 per cent.
Meanwhile, the health ministry official added that possible amendments might be announced concerning banning the entry of the unvaccinated to certain key sectors as of December 15.
According to the new restrictions, only adults and children aged 12 and older who have received at least one dose of the vaccine will be allowed entry in stadiums, theatres, cinemas, restaurants, cafés, bars and nightclubs starting December 15.