The Republic’s contact tracing team is racing against time as the number of contacts of confirmed cases have been flying off the charts over the past few days, placing health authorities on alert.
Over the last three days alone, the number of new cases has skyrocketed by 175. As the number increases, the task of the contact tracing team, which is called upon to investigate a multitude of incidents but also to prevent the further transmission of the virus, grows increasingly difficult.
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, members of the the tracing team have reached the brink of exhaustion due to their massive workload. So far, the team consisted of 13 people, but another 10 people have recently been recruited to help shoulder responsibilities.
The prevailing situation explains the fact that the health ministry didn’t have information on Wednesday’s 51 new cases, stating that investigations into the cases have yet to be completed. Something similar happened on Tuesday as well, when 44 out of the day’s 83 new cases were still being looked into.
The contact tracing team is expected to be boosted with more recruits over the coming period, as its work is crucial at the current critical point in the pandemic.
An increase in coronavirus cases expected
In the coming days, new cases are expected to continue their upward trend, member of the government’s expert coronavirus task force, Dr Constantinos Tsioutis, told Kathimerini Cyprus.
"We are at a tipping point and it is a matter of time before our hospitals are brimming and victims increase,” Tsioutis said, citing the public’s lack of compliance with protection measures and protocols as the root of the problem.
Next week crucial regarding stricter measures
Authorities are currently focusing on getting the public to observe existing measures, as next week is considered crucial on whether any further measures are necessary to slow down the transmission of the virus.
In the event that the epidemiological continues down its current track, or even takes a turn for the worse, a second lockdown is considered as a last resort.
While the local economy and the social implications are being taken into account, epidemiologists aren’t ruling out a partial or total lockdown if the number of hospitalisations and deaths spirals to unacceptable levels.
While we’re not there yet, the increasing number of cases point to that scenario edging closer.
In the meantime, workplaces are now under the microscope of those in charge, as several chains of infection have grown out of workplaces that failed to abide by health protocols. On Friday, the health minister is set to meet employers’ organizations.