The recent surge in coronavirus cases attests to the fact that government-imposed health protocols but also personal protection measures are being flouted, health minister Constantinos Ioannou said Thursday.
With stricter measures imposed on Wednesday the Larnaca district, the current epicentre of the recent virus flare-up, Ioannou said that for the time being similar measures aren’t being considered for the rest of the island, but noted that “the problem isn’t only Larnaca’s but Cyprus’ as a whole.”
Along with new restriction measures imposed on the Larnaca district, the health ministry also moved to shoulder the cost 3,000 tests that will target the Larnaca population.
The health minister stressed that “the goal is for all of us to realize our individual responsibilities and to abide by protocols.”
“It’s as plain as day that protocols weren’t abided by, as happened in a football club where one positive case infected 19 others,” Ioannou said.
Nea Salamina fires back
The club, first division team Nea Salamina, where the cluster currently counts 23 people including 20 players and staff and three contacts of a football player, refuted the ministry’s accusations on Thursday.
The club’s vice-president Yiannos Chrysostomou, speaking to Kathimerini Cyprus, refuted accusations that one of team’s players, who returned to Cyprus from Portugal, flouted protocols in transmitting the virus.
He said the player had arrived from a category B country presenting a negative coronavirus test as required, and never entered changing rooms, while he received separate training from the rest of the team’s fitness coach, who tested negative for the virus to multiple tests.
Rather, Chrysostomou took hits at “gaps in the protocols of the Cyprus Football Association and the health ministry.” He said that based on protocols, those players who tested negative could resume training the following day, but instead the club took the initiative to repeat tests, to which 10 more positive cases emerged.
Further, responding to claims that the club’s move to instruct players to get re-checked for the virus privately endangered public health, Chrysostomou said that the club was following the Cyprus Football Association’s protocol (which he said clashes with that of the health ministry), and arranged that the players take the tests in a way that ensures that they will not come into contact with others.
Football league to carry on for now
A meeting on Thursday between the health minister and the Cyprus Football Association failed to reach any final decisions, which are expected in their second round of talks on Friday, but all things point to the football league carrying on as normal for now.
During Thursday's meeting held at the health ministry, health protocols were discussed in depth, with talks focusing on the difficulties in their implementation and the problems that have arisen.