The heat wave gripping Cyprus — with temperatures 12 C above the average for the time of year — is an ally against the coronavirus, a member of the team of scientists advising the government on the Covid-19 outbreak told CNA on Monday.
Professor Petros Karayiannis added that it was possible that in the next few days Cyprus may have no new positive cases or that these may be sporadic.
“I think the heat wave is on our side. Because of the high temperatures we have now if someone is ill and sneezes, the microdroplets will dry very quickly and the virus will be neutralised in this way,” he said.
Karoyiannis said that there may be few if any new cases this week.
“The number of samples taken daily is very large compared to other European countries and I think our method can detect sporadic cases too whereas in other countries such as Greece they do not take them into consideration.”
No concern about the schools
Asked about the two pupils who had tested positive at Aradippou lyceum, he said he was not concerned because they were isolated incidents in an area where there had been a problem.
“I hope that there is nothing worrying from the tests that will be carried out from today until Thursday when remaining pupils go back to school. From there on, we need to learn to live with the virus.
“Whenever there is a case somewhere, this does not mean that we must close down everything and go back in 15 days. We must enforce the protocols to isolate and trace contacts, and life goes on.”
Ready for stage two of relaxation of measures
Karayiannis said Cyprus was ready for stage two of the relaxation of restrictions.
“With the current situation we are ready to move to stage two. I have no doubt about it and I do not think there will be a reversal. After the first relaxation with nearly 60,000 people going back to work, so far, there has not been a single positive case among those who have been tested,” he said.
The two positive cases at the Aradippou school had created a sense of uncertainty, but it was a positive development that they had been found as they remind us of the need to be careful at all times.
“It shows that we must not relax because there may be cases such as these which if we are not careful, can create problems.”
Full speed ahead for phase three of the relaxation of measures
Given the current situation, there is no problem with stage three that is due to start on June 9, he added.
“With the return of pupils to school, tests will continue and I believe that by then the results will be such as to allow us to proceed to stage three.”
There is nothing to give grounds for concern in the epidemiological picture and given that the virus will not, for the time being, come from abroad, it is important to put our house in order.
Opening of airports
Asked whether we should anticipate foreign visitors from June 9 when a tentative date has been given for the gradual opening of airports under conditions, Karayiannis said preparations have still to be made, and therefore visitors should not be expected.
“I do not believe they will open immediately for passengers because various arrangements need to be made, from where we will be accepting tourists, whether bilateral agreements will be required, whether there will be a collective European Union agreement etc.”
If it is decided to open them, Karayiannis said he does not anticipate mass arrival of tourists from abroad.
“I think we will have tourists some in July, whether at the start of the month or mid-July will depend. Of course there may be arrivals in June if there are some countries that have the same epidemiological picture with us such as Greece and Israel. We could open quicker for these destinations.”
Take care to keep a distance on the beach
Karayiannis advised people flocking to the beach to cool off from the heat to comply with social distancing, both in the sea and on the beach.