17 November 2020
The early implementation of public health interventions, including non-pharmaceutical measures and active contact tracing with extensive and targeted testing, proved to be a valuable combination of strategies to effectively control the first wave of COVID-19 outbreak between March and May 2020 in the Republic of Cyprus.
These were the main conclusions of a recently published paper in the Journal of Clinical Medicine. The paper described the epidemiological picture of Cyprus during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic based on surveillance data collected by the Ministry of Health and analysed under the guidance of the Scientific Advisory Committee for COVID-19 and other members of the local scientific community. Five members of the University of Nicosia Medical School faculty have contributed to the study: Dr Annalisa Quattrocchi, as the first author, Dr Christiana Demetriou, Dr Ourania Kolokotroni, Professor Peter Karayiannis and Dr Georgios Siakallis.
The authors reported that, between 9 March and 3 May 2020, 873 COVID-19 cases were detected out of 64,136 diagnostic tests performed. Overall, 19.1% of cases received hospital care and 3.7% required admission to Intensive Care Units. Male sex, increasing age, symptoms at diagnosis, and underlying health conditions were associated with hospitalization. Twenty COVID-19 patients died during the surveillance period.
The authors pointed out that school and university closures, cancellation of public gatherings, inter-city travel prohibitions, travel bans, and 14-day quarantine for incoming travellers, and mandatory isolation of cases and their close contacts, significantly decreased community transmission during the first COVID-19 wave.