Cyprus enters a critical week which will determine whether the epidemiological team will give the green light for stage two of the relaxation of tight restrictions put in place two months ago to fight the spread of coronavirus, Marilena Panagi reports for Phileleftheros.
Stage one came into effect last Monday, and its impact on the Covid-19 outbreak that will be seen this week will determine progress to step two.
The epidemiological situation permitting, May 21 will see the lifting of all restrictions on movement of citizens.
Pupils of all levels of education will return to school, catering establishments will be allowed to open outdoors and hairdressers salons, barbers and beauticians will resume operation.
The team of scientists advising the government has set the following criteria:
— the R0 (reproduction number of infections) remains below 1:1. According to the latest figures of last Thursday it was 1:07 and 1:08 according to two methods and 1:1.2 in the third
— the number of new confirmed cases should not exceed 5 per 1000 tests
— the number of coronavirus patients in ICU (intubated or not) is below 14
Even with the best case scenario which will allow progress to stage two, the epidemiological data will be closely monitored as experience elsewhere has shown that a relaxation of the measures leads to a spike in new cases.
Should these surge, the process may be frozen or even reviewed.
According to Phileleftheros, the relaxations will freeze when:
— the R0 records a sudden increase and exceeds 1:1
— new admissions to ICU rise to three in 24 hours at least three to five days a week
— new positive cases exceed 130 for three consecutive days in the same week