Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: Second thoughts on outdoor mask relaxations after cases spike

Photo: CNA

Authorities seem to be freezing out any idea of covid relaxations, at least for the next couple of weeks, as new cases spiked yesterday to almost 6,500, with hospitalised patients now at 190, almost half of whom are vaccinated.

Twenty one are in serious condition.

Health minister Michalis Hadjipantela is scheduled to meet the Advisory Scientific Committee in ten days to discuss the possibility of further relaxations in the run up to Easter on April 24.

It seems that such a decision will depend on the next few days numbers and likely pressures on the health system from increased hospitalisations.

Amongst the measures considered are doing away with outdoor masks.

Committee member and molecular virology professor Petros Karayiannis spoke of a number of people that fail to report they are covid positive or self-isolate.

“The rise in cases recorded over the past few days is why the health ministry did not go ahead with any relaxationsm” Karayiannis stressed, casting doubt on whether authorities will go ahead with removing masks in outdoor areas.

He also noted however that a high number of cases was to be expected yesterday, as this was a regular trend following the weekends, where a lower number of tests is conducted.

“People have come to me with complaints that Covid positive individuals go about their business as normal, without isolating, thus risking the infection of others, in particular vulnerable groups,” he added.

This is highly irresponsible, he said, as Covid related deaths have now reached 930, with a steady rise over the past two months.

The scientific advisory committee did express the hope that numbers will stabilise in the coming days as the Omicron 2 variant peaks and stressed the need for people to maintain protective measures to the highest possible degree.

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