New coronavirus cases in the Republic maintained their low streak on Friday as just three new cases were confirmed, but experts speaking at the Health Ministry’s daily briefing said the coming days are crucial as students are set to return to school.
The three new cases, which emerged after 1,794 samples were checked for the virus and which brought total known cases to 910, involved two members of staff of state hospital microbiology labs, and one person who tested positive in the framework of the round of tests targeting the retail and construction sectors, that resumed operation after the first relaxation of restriction measures.
“The picture as it has been unfolding over the past two weeks which saw the first lifting of restrictions is very satisfactory, and this is why the Scientific Team proposed to the political leadership today [Friday] that it moves forward with the further relaxation of restrictions," Leontios Kostrikis said.
According to Dr Marios Loizou, the past few days have seen two important interventions by the UN and the WHO.
“The UN issued an announcement regarding the need for action in the field of mental health,” Dr Loizou said, noting that the announcement warned over a concerning increase in stress and cases of depression as a result of the pandemic.
“Health workers at the front lines, women, children, teenagers, the elderly, and people with pre-existing mental health issues, fall under groups of high risk.”
At the same time, Loizou said, a concerning increase in alcohol consumption has also been observed.
“The difficulties that have arisen in accessing mental health services have exacerbated the problem,” Dr Loizou went on, noting that since the onset of the outbreak, Cyprus made sure that the local mental health services launched a telephone centre to support the public.
On its part, Dr Loizou said, “the WHO announced that there is a possibility that the virus will never leave our lives.”
He added that “what definitely is the case at the moment is that when a virus emerges for the first time, and immunity or a vaccine has yet to be discovered, no one can know for how long the virus will stay.”