Yesterday’s record in daily Covid infections sounded alarm bells in Cyprus, with health experts saying that the authorities need to be vigilant over a potential pandemic climax in the coming days.
The experts’ comments came before a new extraordinary meeting called by the Minister of Health Michael Hadjipantela with the Scientific Advisory Committee on the pandemic tomorrow. On Monday Cyprus recorded 1,925 new Covid cases marking a new record since the outbreak of the pandemic back in March 2020.
Speaking to CNA, member of the Committee, Professor of Microbiology/Molecular Virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School Petros Karayiannis, said yesterday’s record in daily infections “was somewhat unexpected following the 900 new cases the day before,” noting that the steep rise may be the result of increased testing.
But he added, “on the other hand we did not expect almost 2,000 cases.”
“Currently we are facing a culmination of the current wave which will not stop if we are not careful,” he added, warning “we may see today the number rising to 2,000 if we have the same number of tests but we need a few days to see how the curve will look like.”
Noting this rise in daily infections is possibly attributed to the Omicron variant “which came earlier than expected,” Karayiannis pointed out that Omicron causes milder symptoms.
Asked on the team’s meeting with the Minister of Health, Karayiannis refrained from highlighting possible measures as a response to yesterday’s spike in infections. “But we can say that we cannot leave things the way they are, we need more and this will be decided tomorrow.”
He also highlighted the need for vaccinations to continue, noting that an increased number of vaccinations may be the reason why Cyprus records a low number of patients treated in hospitals relative to the increased daily infections. Karayiannis also noted booster shots seem to deal with the Omicron variant more adequately.
On her part, Zoe Dorothea-Pana, a lecturer in pediatrics at the European University Cyprus’ School of Medicine, also a member of the COVID-19 advisory team, told CNA that this significant deterioration in Cyprus’ epidemiological image came following increased testing, around 120,000, which leads to a daily positivity rate of 1.7%.
She also noted, “We should wait to see what will happen in the coming days, as data show that where the Omicron variant prevails rapidly, daily infections double in two or three days.
"Therefore, the next two or three days will be important", she added.
Speaking to CNA, Constantinos Deltas, Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics in the University of Cyprus (UCY) said that the situation is difficult, noting that no complacency will be allowed as infections may be even more than those recorded yesterday “as there are many out there who are not tested and the virus is roaming.”
He also highlighted the need for vaccinations citing a UCY study showing that persons who received a second vaccine dose have much more antibodies compared to those who were infected while the persons who received booster shots have even more antibodies compared to those who received two doses.