Close contact poses a risk of transmitting coronavirus and not going to beaches, Lecturer of Internal Medicine & Infection Prevention and Control at the European University of Cyprus, Constantinos Tsioutis said Monday.
Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, Tsioutis said the virus is quite sensitive to environmental conditions and high temperatures, under which it cannot survive for more than a few minutes.
Tsioutis, who is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Health, was invited to comment on the public’s concern as regards beaches and swimming pools with temperatures already on the rise.
He assured bathers that the beach and pools do not pose any risk as far as the water is concerned, noting however the danger lies in the crowds that gather at these sites and the close contact between swimmers.
Asked if the virus survives on the sand, Tsioutis explained the virus is quite sensitive to environmental conditions as well as the sun’s rays, but because of the high temperature and UV radiation of the sun, it cannot survive for more than a few minutes and tests have indicated so.
However, the danger lies with all open areas and close contact between people, Tsioutis said and advised the public to avoid close contact and maintain distances even outside the water.
Those who have respiratory infections should avoid the beach, he said, adding that people who live together should preferably visit the beach together and in small groups and avoid contact with others and sharing items.
He also said that people should use their own sunbeds, while organised beaches that rent out sunbeds should regularly decontaminate them as well as umbrellas and tables.
Tsioutis said that the Scientific Advisory Committee believes there are still cases in the community, and that coronavirus is still spreading, noting that the first phase of the lifting of measures is expected to be followed by an increase in cases.
While the current situation appears optimistic, Tsioutis said concerns will rise if we see a surge in cases, and if we begin seeing more than five new cases per one thousand tests for consecutive days.