The intention is that the measures, which the Cabinet will take on Wednesday to curb the spread of COVID-19, will last until Christmas, according to Professor of Microbiology/Molecular Virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School Petros Karayiannis.
In statements to CNA, Dr. Karayiannis said that although there are still beds in hospitals, there is an increase in non-COVID patients who are also taking up ICU beds.
Referring to the need for the public to go ahead with the booster shot, he said that for people to be protected, they need the third dose. “This is the information that we have right now from other countries. That is why we are moving towards the third dose to strengthen the vaccination barrier”, he said, noting that “high levels of antibodies are necessary. If someone has a health issue, then their antibody levels may fall faster in the six-month span. So he or she may be more exposed” adding that “if there is a medical reason that the vaccine cannot be done, then that’s another matter.”
Theoretically though, if one has received the first two shots, then they can go ahead with the third shot without reservations, he added.
Asked if in the event the cases continue to rise for more measures to be imposed, Dr. Karayiannis said that at the moment the intention is not to take more action than what will be decided on Wednesday.
Of course, he said, for more measures to be taken, the situation must worsen even further and that does not mean more cases. “The hard indicators are hospitalisations and the number of people on ventilators. That is where the problem is”, he added.
On the subject of hospitalizations, Dr. Karayiannis said we reached 106 yesterday which is a third of the peak of the summer wave.
“There is room for hospitalizations but the difference is that at the moment there are also hospitalizations that are also non-COVID that keep beds occupied especially in the Intensive Care Units. Non-COVID patients are more than COVID patients,” he remarked.
Asked about the duration of the measures which will be taken on Wednesday, Dr. Karayiannis said it depends on the Cabinet. “We did not talk about a time frame, but the intention is that these remain in force until Christmas”, he added.
Regarding the prohibition of Christmas gatherings in public areas, Dr. Karayiannis said the reason is that people will attend without wearing masks. “We are not helping the situation with our behaviour”, he remarked, adding that the Cabinet might take a different stance on measures regarding indoor and outdoor spaces.
Dr. Karagiannis recommended, “once again, patience and implementation of measures, otherwise the situation will continue”.
Especially for schools, he noted, “we should realise that since we cannot vaccinate children yet until vaccination for children is approved in Europe, we have no choice if we want to keep schools open.”
The Minister of Health and the Epidemiological committee on Monday examined a series of measures to take before the cabinet, which includes children in primary schools wearing masks during classes.
Other measures agreed include, inter alia, weekly rapid tests, self-tests for those who are fully vaccinated, the restriction of the number of persons participating in public gatherings and remote working. The possibility to introduce tests both for vaccinated and unvaccinated people in areas where clusters of coronavirus cases are detected was also discussed and it will be brought before the Cabinet.
Health Minster Michalis Hadjipantelas said that the cancellation of Christmas events is also being considered, including school celebrations.
Both the scientific committee and the Ministry are also suggesting the abolition of SafePass for those who do not proceed with the booster dose in a period of seven months.