March 10, 2020 / 6:21 AM / a month ago

Cyprus reports first two coronavirus cases, including health professional

Cyprus Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou attends a press conference following the first two confirmed coronavirus cases in Nicosia, Cyprus March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

ATHENS (Reuters) - Cyprus on Monday reported its first two confirmed cases of coronavirus, including a public health professional who had contact with medical patients before he reported his symptoms to authorities.

Both patients - males - had travelled from abroad. The first case is a 25-year-old man who had returned from northern Italy and the second, the health professional, is a 64-year-old who returned from Britain on March 3.

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said it was “regrettable” that the second patient, who developed symptoms on March 3, only reported to authorities on Sunday.

“This does complicate efforts by the ministry on the tracing we need to do on the contacts he had over the past five days,” he said.

The health professional works at a public health facility in the capital Nicosia.

Multiple Cypriot news sources reported the 64-year old was a doctor who worked in the heart surgery ward of Nicosia general hospital, the largest public health facility on the island.

Authorities said they were working closely with the health professional to trace patients, family members and other health professionals he may have been in touch with.

Writing by Michele Kambas; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Jane Merriman

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