Dr. Petros Karayiannis, member of the Scientific Committee on the pandemic and Professor of Microbiology/Molecular Virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School has told CNA that the epidemiological picture of Cyprus has improved and that he expects a greater drop in Covid-19 cases from next week onward, pointing out at the same time the need to proceed with caution.
Karayiannis, who was replying to CNA questions warned at the same time that all European countries expect that February and March will be difficult months because of low temperatures which will mean that most people will stay indoors, something, he said, which is of particular concern.
“In our case, I believe that if we are cautious,” he noted, “and we proceed with small but steady steps, while monitoring the situation constantly maybe we will be able to prevent a backward turn and the weather may be helpful in that direction.”
What would be very helpful, he pointed out, would be the greatest possible vaccination of the population and the monitoring of airports in order to prevent the introduction of a new variant of the virus in Cyprus.
In his statements, Karayiannis said that the epidemiological picture is showing an improvement, but noted that the number of confirmed cases was up again on Thursday, adding that more tests were also carried out.
He expressed the hope that the number of new Covid-19 cases will start decreasing again, adding that the government was right to go ahead with a cautious and gradual easing of restrictive measures. He also said that testing units will be operating in multiple spots across the island in order to monitor people returning to work on a weekly basis.
Asked whether he believes the measures have been effective, he replied positively.
Certainly, the restrictive measures we had in December and during the holidays had a significant impact, he said, adding that there was a drop in new cases from 900 to about 250. The lockdown imposed afterwards resulted in new cases dropping to 120. “We are now between 120 and 158 new cases and we may begin to see a further drop next week,” he noted.
Referring to the pressure from Covid-19 patients on the health system Karayiannis said that hospitalisations have dropped but that the number of people treated in ICUs continues to be at a similar level. This, he explained is due to the fact that people needing treatment in ICUs stay there more days than other patients and that is why these units are under pressure when we have a high case count.
Asked about reactions by organised bodies against the measures, he said that everyone needs to understand that it is not possible for all sectors of the economy to open at the same time, adding that if this were to happen it would be catastrophic and the situation would return to the same as before the lockdown within a matter of three to four weeks at most.