Member of the government’s coronavirus advisory team Dr Petros Karayiannis called for stricter measures at airports to curb the spread of the South African strain detected in various countries, including Greece and the UK.
Karayiannis said the new strain could easily be imported to the island via airport arrivals, where he said measures should be tightened through increase testing and quarantine requirements.
The expert said the South African strain is different from the UK, though less information is currently available. Though there is no information to suggest that the new strain, known as 501Y.V2 is more severe, concern mainly relates to the speed with which it is transmitted and signs of resistance to current coronavirus vaccines.
The local pandemic, Karayiannis said, appears to have stabilised with decreased numbers of cases being detected daily, noting that the number of tests being conducted have surged.
"The measures have been effective," he said, adding that "we have managed to reduce the number of cases from 900 to about 100." This, he continued, "took six to seven weeks with the two phases of restrictive measures."
Also encouraging, Karayiannis said, is the drop in coronavirus cases requiring hospital treatment, as well as the small decrease in ICU patients.