Taking into consideration the large extent of transmission of COVID-19 – coronavirus – disease globally, and with the aim of preparing an Action Plan for the prevention and planning for the treatment of potential cases, as well as providing guidance to the community with regards to various questions, a meeting has been arranged under the presidency of the Rector, in which specialists on the subject participated.

For an effective management of the issue, the university community is advised to remain calm. Without panicking and with personal accountability we are all required to assume our share of responsibility for the protection of ourselves and our fellow citizens, especially the vulnerable groups. Preventive measures and personal hygiene must be a priority in order to address the epidemic more efficiently. People who present with respiratory tract infections are encouraged to stay at home, while all the members of our community should avoid unnecessary traveling to high risk countries.

During the meeting for the management of the issue, a Crisis Management Committee within the UCY was composed and the following actions were decided upon:
1. Implementation of antiseptics in all sanitary facilities, teaching facilities, and other common areas. You will be notified with relevant information (map) about the specific areas of implementation, soon. On this link you can watch a short video on the proper washing of hands. 
2. Creation of constantly updated website: , exclusively on the matter of COVID-19, which will include useful information and updates on the latest news about the subject. Specifically, the website will be referring to the following:
Traveling Instructions and emergency announcements by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning COVID-19. Members of the community are advised to abide by the traveling instructions and act proactively regarding their future plans. For more information visit the website:
3. Emergency Contact Numbers for management and immediate action: 
UCY Health Centers:
+357 22895270 University Campus
+357 22895280 Kallipoleos
Safety, Health and Environment Sector:
+357 22894147
Mob.: +357 99419007

This text was based on recent equivalent texts issued by the World Health Organization, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Greece National Public Health Organization (ΕΟΔΥ) and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Cyprus.
5 March 2020.
Questions – Answers about COVID -19

 1. What is the new coronavirus?
It is a new virus that was first identified in the city of Wuhan in China, in 2019. It belongs to the family of coronaviruses. Even though within the same family of coronaviruses there are several widespread viruses that cause a “common cold” – which is considered a non-life-threatening condition – this virus, as well as the genetically related SARS virus which emerged in 2002, usually cause a more severe clinical picture in patients.

The new coronavirus has been named SARS-CoV-2 to highlight its relation/similarity with the SARS virus which also brought about severe problems. The virus disease was named COVID-19 based on the initials of the rona rus Disease which emerged in 2019.
 2. How dangerous is this virus?
Like other respiratory infections, the new coronavirus can cause mild respiratory disease symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever. In many people the disease of the new coronavirus might be completely asymptomatic, especially in young people with no underlying diseases. Some people, though, might present with more severe symptoms which can cause pneumonia or shortness of breath and the patient might need to be hospitalized. More rarely it can cause death. The people who are more susceptible to the virus and at increased risk for serious illness from it, are elderly people and people with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, and heart disease.
 3. How is the virus transmitted?
The virus seems to be transmitted via respiratory droplets or infected secretions which are produced while sneezing, coughing or breathing out. These droplets can settle on the mucous membranes of the nose or mouth of people who are in close proximity (usually less than one metre), or even penetrate the lungs during inhalation.

It is crucial that anyone who coughs or sneezes, covers their faces with a paper towel, which is immediately disposed of after use, and washes their hands immediately.

Frequent washing of hands with soap and water is very important. If hands are not visibly dirty from secretions or other organic matter, one can also wash their hands with a 70% alcohol solution.
  4. How long does the virus survive on surfaces?
The virus can survive on surfaces from a few hours (bronze, paper) to a few days (plastic and stainless steel). However, the quantity of active virus on these surfaces decreases over time and therefore there may not be enough active virus left on the surface, so as to cause infection.
 5. What is the duration of incubation time?
Incubation time is the period between a person’s exposure to the virus until the onset of their symptoms. Even though the median duration of incubation time is 5-6 days, it can range from 1-14 days.
  6. When can a patient transmit the virus?
Contagion may begin one to two days before the onset of symptoms. The most infectious period is the phase in which there are symptoms, even mild. The transmissibility of asymptomatic cases is difficult to assess. The viral load that asymptomatic people carry in their nasopharynx is comparable to that of symptomatic ones, which indicates the potential for transmission of the virus. Some mathematical models have also shown that asymptomatic patients may play an important role in transmitting the virus. However, there are still many unanswered questions and uncertainty concerning this possibility.
 7. Can the virus be transmitted from food (restaurant food, frozen or packaged food) or drinking water?
Up to now, there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted to anyone through eating or managing food. It is possible for someone to get infected with the virus if they touch an infected surface or object such as packaged food whose surface is infected, and then touch the mouth, nose or eyes with their infected hands. Therefore, handwashing is crucial after touching potentially contaminated surfaces. In addition, there is no evidence that people can get infected by drinking water. The virus has not been detected in drinking water, to date. Conventional water purification methods (with filters or disinfection), such as those used by most municipal authorities, remove or kill the virus successfully.

  8. Can I prevent the disease by using antibiotics?
No, antibiotics cannot protect you from viruses. Antibiotics can protect you from bacteria. This specific pathogen is a virus; therefore, antibiotics do not have any effect.

 9. What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus disease?
The disease caused by the virus varies in severity from completely asymptomatic to the onset of symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, generalized weakness, myalgias, taste and anosmia. It can also cause gastrointestinal disorders such as vomiting or diarrhea. 
Most patients present with mild symptoms. In more serious cases, patients can develop severe pneumonia, severe respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, which can even lead to death. A patient's clinical deterioration can occur rapidly, usually in the second week of illness.

 10. Are there people who are more likely to develop severe symptoms?
In general, elderly people and people with underlying chronic conditions (e.g. hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, liver disease, and chronic respiratory diseases) are more likely to develop severe symptoms.

 11. When is someone considered a COVID-19 suspect case?

According to the updated definition of a case, by the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Cyprus Ministry of Health (15/7/2020) and the update by the ECDC, a patient should present with at least one of the following symptoms:
  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • sudden onset of lack of smell, taste and dysgeusia
Additionally, less specific symptoms include: headache, myalgia, chills, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea.

 12. When is someone considered a confirmed COVID-19 case?
A person in a clinical sample who is detected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus nucleic acid is a confirmed case.

 13. Is there any treatment for the new coronavirus disease?
There is no specific cure for the virus. The treatment that is provided is supportive (if necessary: respiratory support, fluid or antiviral medications). Corticosteroids have recently been shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients.

 14. What does it mean to have had contact with the virus?
A person who has had contact with the virus is a person who does not currently have symptoms of the disease, and/but may have had contact with a patient infected with the virus. This patient might have clinical disease symptoms or be asymptomatic.

 15. When is it considered that someone has been exposed to a patient (high risk exposure)? 
  • A person residing in the same place as a patient (e.g. in the same house)
  • A person who had direct physical contact with the patient (e.g. by handshake)
  • A person who was exposed to infectious biological secretions of the patient without protective measures (e.g. at a short distance from the patient when he/she coughed or had contact with used tissues).
  • A person who had face-to-face contact with a person infected with the virus at a distance of < 2 meters for longer than 15’.
  • A person who was in an indoor space (e.g. classroom, conference/meeting room, cinema, hospital waiting room, etc.) with an infected person for at least 15’ or longer, and at a distance of < 2 meters.
  • A health professional or other health care provider of a person – a confirmed case of the virus, without the recommended protective measures.
  • A person in an aircraft cabin seated at a distance of two-four rows (regardless of direction) from a confirmed patient of the virus, travelers or cabin crew members (providing services) in the aircraft section where the patient was seated. If the patient used more areas of the cabin, or presented with severe symptoms, the number of people exposed to close contact with the patient may be increased.

 16. What measures are recommended by the Ministry of Health for the management of contact with high risk exposure?
Self-isolation and active monitoring by Public Health Authorities for a period of 14 days after the last exposure to the disease.
• Daily monitoring for symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.
• Instructions to avoid social contacts.
• Instructions to avoid traveling or public transport.

 17. I plan to travel to an area that has an increased number of cases. Should I cancel my trip?
Based on current data, countries are categorised every week into three categories (low, medium and high risk). You can see more about how passengers from each of the three categories are treated upon arrival at: 

Trips that are not absolutely necessary is best be avoided, especially to countries listed to B or C category. Travellers coming from Category B countries, in addition to the virus negative certificate they should bring with them, are advised to self-isolate for approximately 7 days after their arrival and be tested for the virus with the PCR method at the end of the 7 days. People from category C countries, in addition to the virus negative certificate they should bring with them, should remain in self-isolation for 14 days, and take a new test with the PCR method through the nasopharynx at the end of this period.

 18. What should I do when I return from traveling?
Based on new travel instructions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, find here all the INFORMATION FOR ALL STAKEHOLDERS CONCERNING FLIGHTS FROM/TO THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS
   -     Members of the academic community may contact the Safety, Health and Environment Sector of the University (tel. +357 22894147, mob.: +357 99419007) for guidance and advice.

 19. What must be done when a student or a staff member of the university community shows respiratory symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, etc.) on the university campus and according to his/her travel history he/she had travelled in any country or had close contact with a confirmed case (check paragraph 14)?
  • They should automatically leave the area and isolate themselves in a space away from others.
  • They should notify 1420 and inform them of their symptoms and their travel history 
  • They may also call one these emergency contact numbers of University for assistance: 
Emergency Contact Numbers for management and immediate action:
Health Centers UCY: +357 22895270 University Campus, +357 22895280 Kallipoleos
Safety, Health and Environment Sector: +357 22894147, Mob.: +357 99419007
 20. How can I protect myself from the new coronavirus?

 Α. Personal hygiene guidelines:
  • Stay at home and refrain from attending classes or working with anyone with symptoms of respiratory infection.
  • Avoid close contact, whenever possible, with anyone with respiratory symptoms, such as cough or sneezing
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Avoid sharing pencils, pens, markers and other personal items.
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover the nose and mouth with the sleeve at elbow height or with a tissue, and dispose of the used tissue in the nearest trash bin, and thoroughly wash your hands.
  • Regular and thorough washing of hands with liquid soap and water, for at least 20’’, before eating and after visiting the bathroom, and carefully dry your hands with disposable paper towels.
  • As an alternative to washing your hands, hand spraying with an antiseptic alcohol solution can be applied or antiseptic wipes. The bottle with the antiseptic liquid should be near the exit of the classroom.
  • In closed spaces where there are/were other people, a mask should be used. More information about this on the page: 

    The use of a mask is of course necessary and mandatory when in closed public areas of the University. 

    In addition, you can see the relevant decisions of the University on the page:
Β. Cleaning and disinfection instructions:
  • Regular and effective ventilation of all areas, especially during breaks between lectures.
  • In addition to regular cleaning, frequent cleaning of widely used surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, handles, ladders or railing, taps, etc.) with common cleaners, i.e. liquid soap and water, or household bleach/chlorine 10% (1-part household chlorine diluted in 10-parts of water) or alcohol antiseptics.
  • Use disposable gloves and cleaning uniforms.
  • The use of disposable gloves does not in any way replace washing of hands.

 21. Can I use a face mask for my protection?
The use of a surgical mask is now mandatory in closed spaces and crowded areas based on the decision by the Ministry of Health and the University.