Scientists in Cyprus urged the people to keep distances and exercise hygiene rules as four people tested positive for coronavirus, two from a restaurant, a day after Cyprus entered its second phase of easing the lockdown.

Addressing a press conference at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Leontios Kostrikis, member of the Scientific Committee on the pandemic said four people tested positive out of a total of 1.970 tests.

The two positive results came from a restaurant that did not reopen. It was part of the 1000 tests performed at hairdressers, barbers, beauty institutes, tattoo parlours and restaurants.

Another one tested positive from 171 tests at laboratories of the island’s general hospitals.

From 558 tests at schools and school staff, one came back positive.

No one tested positive out of 217 tests conducted on employees in the retail and construction sectors, 298 tests done privately, 101 tests as part of contact tracing, 17 tests from public health clinics and 228 at testing repatriates.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Cyprus rose to 927.

Kostrikis said that activating the plan to gradually lift restrictions is creating a new state of affairs which demands a strict adherence to health protocols. “We urge all to follow the procedures and be very careful”, he said.

On his part, Dr Marios Loizou, Scientific Director at the Nicosia Directorate of the Cyprus State Health Services Organisation said that on the basis of the data until 1500 hours local time, five people are inpatients at Famagusta General Hospital, which operates as the reference hospital for COVID-19. One is being treated at the Increased Care Unit of the hospital.

There are two patients at the Nicosia General Hospital ICU still intubated and another two are now off the ventilator.

Dr. Loizou said that as the country went into the second phase of lifting restrictions, “great care is needed and we should not let our excitement overtake us”.

He emphasised the need to maintain distances and avoid crowding as the picture yesterday, especially at restaurants, was not the ideal one.

“It is the sole responsibility of those in charge of these areas to ensure the strict implementation of all hygiene measures”, Dr. Loizou said.  At the same time it is “also the absolute responsibility of each and every one of us to protect ourselves and those around us. There is no point in keeping distance between the tables if the people move between the tables and talk to each other without a mask. This is exactly the reason his is why the staff of these places must use a mask, precisely because the staff move between the people. One carrier is enough to start transmitting the virus if hygiene rules are not followed”, he cautioned.

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