It is close contact between people that could result in the spreading of coronavirus, not the sea or swimming pools, one of the scientific advisers to the government told CNA on Monday.
Constantinos Tsioutis, an assistant professor at the European University of Cyprus and a member of the team of scientists who advises the government, said the virus is sensitive to environmental conditions and does not survive for more than a few minutes in high temperatures.
Sea, pools not dangerous because of the water
Tsioutis assured swimmers that the water is not dangerous, but is is crowding and close contact that entails risks.
Asked whether the virus survives in sand, he said that it was quite sensitive to environmental conditions as well as to the sun’s UV rays. As there are high temperatures in the sand and there are UV rays, the virus does not survive for longer than a few minutes, he said.
But he noted that the risk of transmission still existed, as in other open areas, on the beach from close contact.
Avoid close contact in and out of the sea
People must maintain distances. On organised beaches, which will reopen in June, there must a distance between umbrellas, and swimmers must also be careful about the items they share.
People who have symptoms of respiratory illnesses must not go to the sea or in far circulate. The advice is that people avoid going en masse to the beach.
“They should go in small groups, mainly people who live together. They should not have contact with others and they should be careful with the items they may take with them or buy. These must be thrown in the trash and certainly not left on the beach,” Tsioutis said.
People should prefer their own sunbeds
Asked if sunbeds are dangerous and should be avoided, he recommended people have their own.
Those who provide services on the beach are advised to regularly disinfect the sunbeds they rent out to the public.
“The environmental conditions may be such that do not favour the survival of the virus, but the sunbeds must be cleaned with the change of user, and the same applies for umbrellas and any tables. The suppliers must monitor the situation to ensure regular cleaning.”
Virus is sensitive to chlorine
Asked whether pools were dangerous, Tsioutis said that the virus is very sensitive to chlorine and that is why we tell the public that detergents we have at home are based on chlorine and kill the virus and are therefore adequate.
In pools, the public must be careful of crowding. The basic rules again are distancing, cleaning of surfaces and not sharing of items.