The growing number of cases being detected at schools that reopened their doors with the government’s gradual lifting of lockdown measures is causing increasing concern.
Epidemiologist Valentinos Silveros told Kathimerini Cyprus that most cases being reported over the past few days – which have been marked by a noticeable surge in the number of cases – were detected in schools.
Silvestros said that since last week, 206 primary school students have tested positive for coronavirus, while contact tracing efforts continue to uncover new cases at schools of higher levels. Over the last weekend alone, Silvestros said, 106 cases were detected among primary school students, while health authorities are aware of two infection chains at Limassol schools.
Silvestros said that while the number of cases being detected at schools is itself concerning, the main issue lies with the transmission of the virus from school units to family members. A logical conclusion would be that health protocols are being adhered to, Silvestros said.
Earlier this week, health experts learned that an educator in Limassol district could be “patient zero” in a cluster involving 44 persons including students, just as a plan for students going back to school was being unravelled. Since then, educators have ramped up reactions over being targeted as responsible for the surge in cases being detected at schools.
But Silvestros said that no one sought to target educators, but to highlight the substance of the matter which is to tackle the root behind the growing chains of infection.
“The first case and the rest of the cases share the same responsibility. The issue is why the virus continued to be transmitted. It’s a collective issue,” Silvestros said.
Come Thursday, mobile rapid test units will be stationed at schools across the island in a bid to limit the rapid transmission of the virus. The mobile units will serve to facilitate the mandatory weekly test required by students aged over 12 and all school staff.
The mobile units will conduct rapid tests on public and private high schools and technical schools on Thursday and Friday this week, and Wednesday to Friday next week, while on March 15-19 mobile units will also be stationed at middle schools.