The health minister Constantinos Ioannou, accompanied by members of the government’s coronavirus task force, gave a press conference on Wednesday noon to outline the development of the coronavirus pandemic, since its outbreak in the Republic of Cyprus some seven months ago.
Ioannou expressed satisfaction with the local situation, but said he was concerned over the lack of adherence to health protocols being observed among the public, noting that many confirmed cases could have been avoided if protocols were rigorously followed.
Ioannou said a central problem plaguing current efforts to manage the pandemic is the refusal of positive cases to declare the full list of their contacts, or others give out false details.
“I want to highlight that whoever develops symptoms must contact their GP. There was a case where a person had symptoms for six days before finally contacting his doctor,” the health minister said.
He stressed that “if stricter measures are required these will be taken. But measures, once imposed, must be abided by, otherwise there’s no point in imposing them.”
“If we do not learn from the sufferings of other countries, we will find ourselves in a similar predicament," Ioannou said, stressing that "we have months ahead of us until there is a vaccine and a targeted treatment.”
Ioannou noted that vaccination against flu A begins next Monday.
The head of health services, Elizabeth Constantinou, said the anti-flu vaccine is integral to the avoidance of a simultaneous flu and coronavirus infection
Addressing the press, member of the government’s health advisory committee, Georgios Nikolopoulos said that the pandemic is affecting most parts of the world, noting that “our wish is for Cyprus to have the least impact possible.” He said that the virus saw a resurgence in September, “which has reached its peak, but we cannot say that it is over."
Nikolopoulos noted that the coronavirus reproduction number has remained just over 1.
Virus increasingly spreading among children
Coronavirus expert Zoe Pana highlighted the increasing spread of the virus among children, which usually present symptoms such as abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea.
Regarding health protocols governing schools, Pana said their implementation is not a difficult feat, noting that during a recent teleconference with the WHO, experts realised that local school protocols are identical with those of other countries.
She stressed that over the coming period, parents should conduct daily checks on their children’s health, if possible with the help of a paediatrician, children should try to form ‘social bubbles’, and non-school activities should strictly follow health protocols for the protection of children while not on school grounds.