Health officials in the Republic of Cyprus went on high alert Monday after 1925 coronavirus cases were announced, confirming local predictions about a spike after Christmas weekend but local experts still needing time to understand the situation better.
According to health ministry data, 12,917 PCR tests and 108,210 rapid antigen tests were carried out on Monday, totaling 121,127 tests with a daily positivity rate reaching 1.59%. No problems or issues were reported regarding hospitalizations, which came to 161 patients 78 of whom were described to be in serious condition.
The record high number of confirmed cases was a sharp increase compared to recent detections but health officials noted that the number of tests was also larger over the weekend. Free test kits have also been available for vaccinated citizens who were told to conduct self-swabbing at home after going out during the holidays.
Health expert Zoi Dorothea Pana, who sits on the government’s pandemic advisory committee, said more time was needed to warrant specific actions and measures.
'There is no way people won’t find themselves somewhere where they can be exposed to the virus'
Pana, who spoke on state radio Tuesday morning, suggested there were indications in other countries that the Omicron variant was associated with more mild illness compared to other known mutations of the coronavirus.
“We expected that numbers would increase,” Pana said.
But she did not say whether she believed the Omicron variant was dominant in Cyprus, adding that regardless of Delta and Omicron “the virus knows where to go to reproduce.”
“There is no way people won’t find themselves somewhere where they can be exposed to the virus,” Pana said, adding that vaccination is meant to protect those who go out during the holidays.
Experts still do not have solid answers on the Omicron variant, particularly in regards to how the mutation affects different age groups. But the new variant has prompted many states to take strict measures out of an abundance of caution.