A local health expert tells consumers there is no need to rush and get tested if they shopped at a supermarket where an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.
Consumers became concerned earlier this week after it emerged that employees at various grocery stores and bakery facilities tested positive for the Covid-19 infection.
During a health ministry daily briefing on Monday, officials said several asymptomatic individuals who worked in the service sector, including staff at a supermarket and a bakery installation, were among those who tested positive for the coronavirus after the government said it was embarking on the task of testing a pool of up to 20,000 people.
Following media reports, people took to social media and demanded the names of companies involved as well as exact locations of confirmed cases, with Zorbas Bakeries and AlphaMega supermarkets putting out statements to inform people of steps the businesses have taken to address the situation.
The expert said there was no way that consumers would have an interaction with staff for that long, including paying at the cash register or waiting at the customer service desk
Additional reports said a Zorbas bakery installation in Aradippou, Larnaca district, and an AlphaMega supermarket in Engomi, Nicosia district, were among businesses where employees tested positive, while workers in other groceries stores were also infected.
During Tuesday's daily briefing, Leondios Kostrikis, a professor of biotechnology and virology at the University of Cyprus, issued a clarification for consumers in response to another expert who suggested on radio that there was a small chance that shoppers got infected.
Kostrikis, who is among the scientists consulting the administration on the state's response to the pandemic, said consumers should not be rushing to get tested if they shopped at the specific supermarket with known confirmed cases.
The expert told the press that both companies had already replaced staff and disinfected their premises, adding that consumers did not fit the profile of suspected cases due to the nature and short time of contacts with infected individuals.
"Adhering to the strict procedural guidelines published by the health ministry, contact with a known case is defined as close social interaction with the same person at the same place for 15 minutes," Kostrikis said.
The expert argues there was no way that consumers would have an interaction with staff for that long, including paying at the cash register or going to the customer service desk.
Some health experts have said wearing a face mask properly in public places, including supermarkets, could be a positive factor in the effort to stop the spread of Covid-19, while others warned that mask-wearing could give a false sense of security.