Hospitalisations of patients with Covid-19 have increased by almost in a third in the last week, Okypy spokesman Charalambos Charilaou said on Monday.

Charilaou was speaking to CyBC radio and said that a total of 90 people are currently in hospital in Cyprus as a result of having contracted Covid-19, up from last week’s figure of 70.

Of those 90, he said, two are currently in intensive care, and four others are being treated in high dependency units.

He added that they are primarily people over 75 who have not been vaccinated in recent months.

However, despite the increase in the number of cases, Dr Petros Karagiannis, microbiology and molecular biology professor at the University of Nicosia, described the chances of further and stricter measures to combat the virus as “remote”.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Karagiannis said that Cyprus is “not dealing with an epidemic wave, but an outbreak”.

He said that for this reason, he expects the outbreak to swiftly “complete its cycle and begin to recede”. This, he said, will entail an increase in numbers over the next few days as people return to school and work after the Christmas holidays.

He said that that subsequent to this, in a week or two, the number of Covid-19 cases recorded in Cyprus will once again to begin to decline.

In addition, Charilaou warned that Monday’s reopening of schools following the Christmas holidays risks a “further increase in the rate of people catching the virus”, and urged people exhibiting symptoms to remain at home.

Earlier, Education Minister Athena Michaelidou had also called on those who exhibit symptoms to remain at home, while suggesting classrooms and other closed spaces in schools be “regularly ventilated”.

She also called on the public to undergo regular tests for Covid-19, especially should they exhibit symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, or fever.

In addition, Charilaou also criticised the health ministry’s decision to approve a request on the part of private hospitals not to take in patients with Covid-19.

He said Okypy had sent a letter to the medical services in protest at the request’s approval, and said patients should be treated equally.

Earlier, the Cyprus Pharmaceutical Association (CPA) repeated their readiness to take part in the Covid-19 vaccination process and administer vaccines in pharmacies.

“Pharmacists have the experience and the appropriate education and training to administer vaccinations in local pharmacies and help towards a more rapid vaccination coverage among the general population,” they said.

They added, “we are ready to consult [with the government] on providing this service to the general public, with the aim of reducing inconvenience they face in arranging appointments and receiving both influenza and Covid-19 vaccines.”

To this end, they said that the administering of vaccines at pharmacies “is a practice followed in many countries in the European Union and internationally.”

They had also said they “welcome” the reintroduction of mandatory testing for Covid-19 to enter certain spaces, including hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, and dentists’ offices, and urged people to wear protective masks and adhere to social distancing procedures.