NewsLocalExpert: crowds in churches and shops jeopardize effectiveness of COVID-19 measures

Expert: crowds in churches and shops jeopardize effectiveness of COVID-19 measures

The images of citizens crowded in places of worship and shops during the weekend are a great source of concern and endanger both the public health and the effectiveness of all the measures taken so far to contain the pandemic, Dr. Constantinos Tsioutis, Head of the Epidemiological Unit for COVID-19, has said, during a press conference.

At the same time, the new figures  presented at the press conference Tuesday show an increase in cases in Nicosia and Famagusta districts.

Tsioutis, stressed in his statements that 9 months after the pandemic broke out, it would have been more wise not to have seen all these images of crowds of people and for everyone to have understood their individual and collective responsibility, the need to protect themselves and those around them and to be aware of their role and responsibility.

He said that as we speak, there are around 120 fellow citizens who are receiving treatment and both them and their families are in agony. At the same time, all medical personnel and health professionals struggle day in and day out, adding that a certain degree of fatigue is also evident.

As regards the figures of recent days, Dr. Tsioutis said that the tests have been multiplied and a targeted control scheme is being carried out, which gave us a certain outcome and results, both at the local and the national level. He referred to the readiness of the hospitals, pointing out that we did not reach a critical threshold, although we approached it and we are one of the few countries with a fairly large reserve.

He stressed, however, that any escalation and any increase in hospital occupancy, means that other services can not be offered to the desirable extent. He also referred to the important successes recorded by Cyprus which right now, perhaps, are not taken into account because we are at a critical level and we see the pessimistic picture.

However, he stressed, we had a long time in a phase of relaxation of measures without many problems occurring and any outbreaks were controlled by targeted measures, we have reserves in the health system and a huge proportion of laboratory tests in the population, which is among the highest in the world.

Addressing the press conference Dr. George Nikolopoulos, member of the Epi Unit, said that based on the data until 27/11, 8 in 10 infections are domestic and the death toll rose to 49. The mortality rate is 0.5% and the daily incidence ranges between 200-250. He said that many tests are performed daily but we can not know the development of the disease. Dr. Nikolopoulos added that Limassol shows a clear decrease while Nicosia and Famagusta show an increase, but stressed that the data justify an island wide strategy to be put in place to contain the virus.

He added that the daily admissions to hospitals are 9-10 and we are still in high numbers without the situation abating, with the number of patients, on average, being over 100 per day. About 17 people are being treated in ICUs, a number higher than the first wave of the pandemic.

Nikolopoulos also explained that data on the sickness load in an area, the rate of reproduction and the percentages of patients are being studied. According to the data, from November 14 to 27, a total of 1,145 cases were detected in Nicosia, 1,050 in Limassol, and 376 in Larnaca. In Famagusta, 218 cases were detected, while in Paphos the picture is improved, as only 123 cases have been recorded.

The growing trend in Famagusta District is of concern with team members focusing on the fact that epidemiological indicators have surpassed those of Limassol with 452.3 cases per 100,000 population. It is followed by Limassol, which shows a decrease of 428.7 cases per 100,000. An increase is presented in Nicosia, which has the third worst indicators, with 335.1-100,000, Larnaca with 255.8-100,000, while Paphos also showed a small increase with 130.7-100,000.

In his intervention, Dr. Tsioutis explained that in the data analysis more than one index is taken into consideration and all figures and data are observed to reach a qualitative analysis.


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