Another 80 to 100 samples are being tested for coronavirus at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics while some of the samples that came back negative yesterday will be tested again, Christina Christodoulou, head of the Molecular Virology Department told the Cyprus News Agency on Wednesday.
She added that Cyprus has two confirmed cases, a number which was low.
“The reason the number is low is because the public health services have and are working hard and correctly so that the number of confirmed cases will be as low as possible. Now it is up to us to keep it low by showing social responsibility to our fellow human beings and particular to vulnerable groups so that we do not allow the virus to progress and quickly increase the number of cases in Cyprus,” she said.
She was asked whether there was a second test for the more than 150 samples which came back negative yesterday. These were from the immediate environment of the Nicosia General Hospital doctor who tested positive for the virus.
Christodoulou said it was possible that a person may have just been infected with the virus and does not show symptoms and for the test to come out negative. If that person then does exhibit symptoms, even mild ones, even if these may be due to an allergy, it is prudent to repeat the test.
If that person comes down with temperature it is essential for a second test to be carried out. Self-isolation is not enough, she said.
“From the moment there is a clinical symptom such as fever then we have clearly moved from the other possible reasons for sneezing or coughing such as allergies and the test must be repeated,” she said.
Asked whether this means that only those with symptoms will be re-tested, she said there were criteria and there will certainly be tests for people who had direct contact with the confirmed case such as a handshake or close contact. In addition, all those who belong to the vulnerable groups of the population will be re-tested as well as all those working in close contact with the confirmed case.
People who just happened to be at the hospital or in other departments and happened to pass close to where the confirmed case was will not be re-tested if they do not show symptoms.
Asked how many samples have been tested overall she said that she believed the number to be close to 250 not including the fresh intake, while double tests have been carried out in some cases.
She also noted that with Easter approaching and students coming home from Italy, the UK and Greece, it was practically inevitable that there will be more cases and this was no-one’s fault. “It is the natural course of events,” she said.
Emphasis must go on vulnerable groups, she added.