Face masks in all indoor closed spaces once again became mandatory on Friday in the Republic of Cyprus, with the country going through another pandemic wave and a local expert saying this is not a setback.
Based on a Cabinet decision, wearing face masks in all indoor closed spaces became mandatory on Friday, following an increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations.
Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela, who announced the decision on Wednesday, noted there had been a rise in all epidemiological indices and hospitalizations which prompted the decision on the mandatory use of face masks for all persons 12 years of age and over.
No need to panic
But Cypriot scientist Leondios Kostrikis, who runs a lab in biotechnology and molecular virology in Cyprus, says the latest development was not a setback for the country.
“The numbers of ICU patients are relatively stable and under control,” Kostrikis said, adding that “managing this wave ought to be done differently, without panic.”
'Those who get the vaccine are not being protected from transmission but are marginally protected in the progression of the disease, i.e., not suffering from a severe case.'
Kostrikis, who was prematurely criticized for claiming the discovery of Deltacron -a COVID variant that is a hybrid of the Omicron and Delta strains- said Cyprus’ previous five coronavirus pandemic waves were based on new strains being more contagious than older ones.
“The latest genetic calculations point to a plethora of cases that are evolutions of substrains of Omicron 5,” Kostrrikis said.
The scientist also warned that currently available vaccines were not effective in blocking transmission of the virus because they were based on earlier strains.
“In other words, those who get the vaccine are not being protected from transmission but are marginally protected in the progression of the disease, for instance not suffering from a severe case. The genetics of the virus change a lot faster than the way we create vaccines,” Kostrikis said.
The health minister said he was optimistic that citizens would adhere to the reintroduction of the mask requirement, saying that by doing so they protect themselves and their loved ones.