Nicosia.- (GreekNewsOnline, CNA)
Cypriot authorities announced seven new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday, out of 1,731 tests completed, with the total number of cases reaching 864.
According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Health no confirmed cases were detected from tests 415 out of the 20 thousand professionals or tests from 319 samples tested privately, or 230 tests conducted on 2,000 employees in the retail food & beverage industry or in homes for the elderly.
Two people tested positive out of 236 tests completed as part of the tracking process of contacts of people who have already tested positive.
Four people tested positive out of 195 tests conducted in the Microbiology Labs of the General Hospitals.
One person tested positive out of 336 tests conducted on people returning from abroad.
On the basis of today’s data, the total number of positive cases has reached 864, including ten who have been located in the British Bases, the press release reads.
Referring to the patients who have contracted COVID-19 and are treated in hospital, the press release says that until 1500 hours this afternoon 13 people were inpatients at the Famagusta General Hospital which operates as the reference hospital for the disease. Two of them were hospitalized in the Increased Care Unit.
At the same time a total of five patients, one in the ICU of the Limassol General Hospital and four in the Nicosia General Hospital ICU, are breathing with the help of a ventilator.
One patient who is hospitalised in the Nicosia General ICU is not intubated.
The clinical state of all patients in the ICUs is “critical but stable,” the press release adds.
Apart from patients treated at the reference hospital, another five people who have tested positive with COVID-19 are treated in wards in other hospitals, the press release concludes.
No room for complacency during easing of
restrictive measures says Justice Minister
Nicosia.- By Antonios Gkildakis/CNA
Cyprus Justice and Public Order Minister George Savvides has told CNA that there is no room for complacency during the gradual easing of restrictive measures in place to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and he urges people to show restraint “so that we can avoid taking any steps back.”
In statements to CNA Savvides also notes the important role police play in enforcing all the decrees issued by the relevant Ministries and asks “seriousness and discipline” from everyone. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has convened a meeting on Monday to discuss this matter, with Savvides’ and the Police Chief’s Kypros Michalides participation.
“Thanks to the sacrifice and discipline of the large majority of our compatriots, it was made possible to reach the government’s main aim on the containment of the virus’ spread, so that we do not witness in our country problems which we have seen in other countries, “ the Justice Minister said.
I fully understand and respect people’s wish for their lives to return to normality, he continues, adding that the government with the agreement of the scientific team has published a gradual return to normality timetable which President Anastasiades announced in an televised address.
At the same time, he stresses that the easing of measures is going ahead provided that people will “continue to behave with the same prudence and responsibility they have behaved until today.”
Savvides also points out that any relaxation “entails the risk of destroying what we have built with much effort and sacrifice until today and I believe it is very clear that the way this virus is transmitted allows no room for complacency or for relaxing.”
He urges people to make use of the new easing measures as sparingly as possible, “so that we can avoid any steps back.”
Referring to the role of the police, he says that their contribution will be huge in the correct implementation of measures, just as it has been so far, adding that with businesses opening the emphasis placed by police will be different.
“Already the Police Chief has been given revised supervision orders and undoubtedly an emphasis will be placed in the correct adherence of the rules issued by the relevant Ministries,” he notes.
The police will be aided by other government agencies, as is mentioned in the most recent decree issued on April 30, including various ministry departments, he says, thanking them.
He also urges citizens to report violations either by calling 1460 or by telephoning the closest police station, because as he points out it is impossible for the police to be everywhere.
He further recalls that the easing of restrictive measures come into effect on Monday, adding that therefore on Sunday the same restrictive measures as previously will be in place.
The Justice Minister also refers to a decision by the Supreme Court to ease previously announced restrictive measures on the operation of courts, expressing his satisfaction.
Dr. Petros Karayiannis: It might take a little longer to go down to zero
Nicosia.- By Antonios Gkildakis/CNA
It might take a little longer than anticipated to see COVID-19 cases fall to zero in Cyprus, said Dr. Petros Karayiannis, a Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Virology and member of the Ministry of Health’s Advisory Committee, attributing the delay to a certain degree of carelessness on the part of the people.
Speaking to CNA, Karayiannis said that we need to avoid at all costs a situation where the virus spreads in the community due to indifference. If cases rise to 20-30 for three or four consecutive days then “we will need to make two steps back” and reinstate measures, the professor warned.
Dr. Karayiannis pointed to the current level of single digit cases reported on a daily basis in Cyprus. We have to be twice as careful during this time, he went on, adding that the virus may spread after measures relax, if necessary precautions are not observed.
Asked if Cyprus is far from witnessing zero cases, Dr. Karayiannis said that it seems that this will take a little longer than anticipated. “I hoped that we would have zero [cases] by now, but there has been some negligence” by the people he said and expressed hope that the downward trend continues.
From the data available to the Advisory Committee there is no obvious peak attributed to people’s behavior during Easter, the professor said and noted that they are dealing mostly with isolated incidents.
Off course there have been confirmed cases among the personnel of a few businesses and in a nursing home, he went on, he said however that a single source of infection is easier to put under control than isolated cases. Isolating a source of infection does not require drastic measures across the population, as in the case when the virus spreads in the community, he explained.
He also referred to the importance of keeping the R0 rate, or reproduction number, below 1 as an indication that the epidemic is declining and that it will disappear at some point. Statistics indicate that Cyprus is well below 1, at 0.3 for some time now, he said, adding that after measures relax, the rate is expected to go up since not everyone will observe measures.
“We need to have 20-30 case per day for three or four consecutive days for the situation to go out of control. If this happens, we will need to take two steps back,” Karayiannis said.
Asked about the experimental antiviral drug Remdesivir, which was authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Karayiannis said that its properties are similar to that of any wide raging antibiotic. He went on to say that Remdesivir is not 100% efficient, as some studies show that it has a positive impact on 65% of the patients, while other studies say it has none.
The drug is being endorsed in the US, in Europe however clinical studies in various countries have not been completed yet, he adds.
Dr. Karayiannis notes that the drug seems to improve somewhat the condition of patients and may help some of them to avoid being intubated but warned that Remdesivir is not as effective for all patients.