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The benefits and harms of thousands of rapid tests: The pandemic was not limited, tracking is impossible, the ECDC blushed

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The benefits and harms of thousands of rapid tests: The pandemic was not limited, tracking is impossible, the ECDC blushed

Coming out of the third wave of the pandemic last spring and heading towards summer, everyone expected that we would follow a course similar to last year, with experts' forecasts also being auspicious after resolving the first problems with vaccine supplies, which They curbed the mass interest in vaccinating those who eventually sought him out and fought to secure the vaccine of their choice, dropping the Vaccination Portal and the GESS system every day around 8 in the morning.

Just a few months later, and in the middle of summer, the situation not only worsens, but also derails. The epidemic slump attributed to the Indian mutation, combined with the low rate of vaccinations in young people, holds all the hopes of the tourism industry and takes away breaths from the economy, which according to the Minister of Finance himself will not be able to withstand another closure with restrictions and lockdown.

Restriction with rapid

The policy pursued by Cyprus from the beginning was to identify as many cases as possible in the community in order to know the real picture, but also to identify the transmission chains through the tracking process. That is why the possibility for free rapid tests was given to all citizens. As long as the cases were in double digits, the purpose could be achieved. A year ago, we were proud because we were one of the few countries, if not the only one, that through the tracking unit we could detect the close contacts that were limited, so the transmission did not take uncontrollable form.

But if we look at the evolution within a year, one wonders what is really the purpose or expediency of conducting so many thousands of rapid tests every day, which cost the state millions and bring millions in profits to the companies that perform them.

Already, since the third wave of the pandemic last spring, the tracking team has been unable to locate the close contacts of the cases, while in this wave the chains of most confirmed cases are not even declared, so the purpose of conducting tens of thousands of rapid tests daily , practically not achieved. It could be considered as a measure of protection of the whole, which is one of the main arguments, however again the numbers of daily cases indicate failure. However, scientists, members of the epidemiological team of the Ministry of Health, from the beginning had the opposite view by conducting tests that exceed 20 thousand per day (a number which is considered to be in the average of tests performed in other countries by population ), noting that it would not be possible to control the pandemic through diagnostic tests.

One argument remains. That we are closer than any other country to knowing the true picture of what is happening in the community in relation to cases. However, this is why other countries have developed software that calculates with relative accuracy what is happening in the community.

Half jobs

The success of the purpose of transmission control through the many rapid tests, could be achieved if the tracking team, through which hundreds under the part-time regime, mainly unemployed, were strengthened both technically, with equipment, but also with specialized personnel. young people, whom the only specialist, team leader Valentinos Silvestros, trained and mentored to see them then leave due to workload or other reasons. And the technical means of the team are limited and poor. For a year and a half, it has not yet developed software that is easy to use even in cases, so that close contacts are not made by phone or e-mail. Of course, the project would cost, including the risk that the goal would not be possible.

However, the consultations with institutions, structures and workplaces are not at a developed level in the case of case detection in the units. The only source of information for the tracking team to detect transmission chains is the coronavirus patients themselves. As far as the schools are concerned, only one – two months before they closed, a better communication with the principals had been developed, so that there would be information from the school units in case of a case.

In a new base with safepass

The adoption of safepass now puts rapid testing on a new footing, which may lead to an evolutionary increase in the number of vaccinated. Safepass is introduced in almost all synchronization areas and the mandatory rapid test by non-vaccinated people, who will even be asked to pay, will lead many to vaccination centers, who for reasons other than denial, have not done so far. .

The number of rapid tests may decrease, but the tourism industry is already suffering tragic losses due to this policy, as our country is classified in the deep red category of the ECDC, because the measure of determining the categories is only the number of confirmed cases per 100,000 people for 14 days combined with the rate of positivity, and our country due to the tens of thousands of tests it conducts daily, shows a bad picture.

Unfortunately, European measurements do not take into account the number of diagnostic tests or the percentage of vaccinated citizens, although there are data, some of which are posted on the ECDC website and which show Cyprus following a similar path. with the rest of the EU countries. In contrast to the ECDC, Britain takes into account the above factors, which is why in the British ranking Cyprus is in the orange category and not in the deep red.

PASYXE is shouting

PASYXE has been pointing out the problem for months, but pointing its arrows at the EU. Speaking to POLITIS 107.6 and the Control Panel show, PASYXE President Haris Loizidis said that the reasons that led the government to this policy are respected. , weighing the data which is mostly scientific and cannot be disputed by non-scientists, and focused its efforts on convincing the EU that other factors should be taken into account in the coronavirus risk classification of countries. They sent letters, made contacts with the European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakidou and other officials, but to no avail.

As a result, tourism in Cyprus and consequently the revenues to the state coffers from the most basic economic asset that our country has to show are blowing for the second consecutive season. Hopes are being revived by the change of attitude of Britain and our stay in the orange category, however we are already in the middle of summer, while the epidemiological situation is getting worse.

The factors of ECDC

According to the classification factors of the ECDC, in the deep red (where Cyprus is located) are classified the countries which for 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants present 500 cases and more, in the red category are classified the countries that for 14 days have from 75 to 200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and a positivity rate of 4% or more, or if for 14 days per 100,000 people there are from 200 to 500 cases.

The orange category includes countries that for 14 days present less than 50 cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of more than 4%, or for 14 days present from 50 to 75 cases per 100,000 people and the positivity rate is 1% or more or for 14 days the positivity rate is from 75 to 200 cases and the positivity rate is below 4%.

The green category includes countries that have less than 50 cases for 14 days per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of less than 4% or countries that for 14 days have less than 75 cases and a positivity rate of less than 1%.

Source: politis.com.cy

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