The coronavirus situation is showing signs of stabilization and a drop in the number of daily cases is expected, member of the government’s health advisory committee Dr Petros Karayiannis said Wednesday.
Any progress achieved through the current restriction measures will become clear in the following days, Karayiannis said, adding that any decisions on a potential relaxation of measures for the Christmas holiday will be made at the very last minute.
“Looking at our epidemiological picture at this moment, I don’t think additional measures will be taken, because our numbers are not rising. If they did rise, it would be difficult to loosen measures and maybe stricter ones would be necessary,” Karayiannis told the Cyprus News Agency.
Karayiannis called on the public to be especially careful and observe the protocols for gatherings of friends and family.
The expert said the health system was still holding strong, noting that the recent spike the number of deaths was due to the transmission of the virus in retirement homes, attacking vulnerable groups.
Regarding vaccines, Karayiannis clarified that Cyprus plans to begin inoculations in early January, but warned that things would not be shifting back to normality overnight, as those vaccinated will need around a month to build up antibodies, while there will be a three-week gap between the first and second dose of the vaccine.
The vaccination program is expected to span around six months.
On Tuesday, the health ministry clarified the vaccination program’s priority list and the sequence in which different groups will be called to set appointments for the vaccination.
First priority was granted to residents and staff of nursing homes and institutions catering to adults with chronic diseases, but also to staff of ambulance departments and health professionals working with coronavirus patients and at ICUs.
According to the health ministry, nursing homes islandwide have a total of 2,294 members of staff and 3,882 residents, while the healthcare professionals who are granted first priority amount to some 1,000 people. These will begin inoculations in January, 2021.
Then, people aged over 80 years, estimated to be around 33,530 people, will be called in to get vaccinated, with priority to be granted to those in vulnerable groups. Vaccinations for this group are expected to begin in January and to be completed within the thirst three months of 2021.
Third in line are those aged over 75, estimated to amount to around 27,667 people, before people aged over 16 but at a high risk of serious illness follow suit. Vaccinations for people aged over 75 will begin in the first trimester of the new year, as will vaccinations for the following group.
Remaining health professionals and residents of closed institutions, such as prisons and migrant camps, are next in line, followed by the rest of the population.
The health ministry said its main aim is to see over 40% of the Cyprus population vaccinated within the first half of 2021.