Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou announced on Monday that two out of the 50 tests conducted on suspected coronavirus carriers emerged positive for the virus, but urged the public not to panic and to follow personal hygiene guidelines.
The first confirmed case involves a 25-year-old man in Limassol who had returned to the island from Milano on February 26, and who has since then been under self-quarantine at the suggestion of airport medical staff, Ioannou said.
The 25-year-old began showing symptoms on March 5, with tests later confirming he carried the virus.
As the 25-year-old had followed the advise issued to him at the airport to remain in quarantine, Ioannou said he will not have come in contact with others.
The second case involves a 64-year-old medical practitioner from Nicosia, who works at a public hospital, and who had returned from the UK on March 3. The 64-year-old is reportedly the head of a Nicosia General Hospital unit.
"Today [Monday], he contact medical offcials and said he was experiencing certain symtpoms," Ioannou said.
“The sad thing about the second case is that even though he returned on March 3, and has since then been showing symptoms, he only yesterday [Sunday] informed us about his symptoms to be tested, so it is difficult for the Health Ministry to trace those he contacted,” Ioannou said, noting that all efforts will be made to identify the 64-year-old’s contacts.
He added that all protocols have been activated, and efforts to locate those with whom the 64-year-old may have come into contact with have begun.
Due to his profession, and his return to work upon arriving in Cyprus, Ioannou said that he has possibly come into contact with several others, including patients. The Health Minister said he could not disclose the department where the confirmed case worked.
Ioannou stressed that the 64-year-old was not checked at the airport upon his return from the UK, as at the time of his arrival on the island, the UK was not considered a high risk country.
“The clinical condition of both confirmed cases is very good, with their symptoms believed to be mild,” the Health Minister added.
Ioannou urged the public to take all personal hygiene measures. He also called on all persons who had recently travelled to countries with confirmed coronavirus cases to make sure that they take personal quaratnine measures and to call the Health Services via 1420.
"This is the only way to break the chain of infection," Ioannou said.
The tests conducted on the Greek Cypriot soldier who recently traveled to Greece, as well as on the detainee and the students who had been placed in quarantine after showing symptoms emerged negative.
Following news of the first confirmed coronavirus cases, authorities in the north were on alert and examining emergency measures that may be taken.
This is a developing story