Cyprus announced 16 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday making it 230 in total and the death of a 77-year-old man puts the death toll at seven.
The Health Ministry announced the total number of confirmed cases is 230, including five in the British bases with COVID-19 deaths at seven since the outbreak.
The declared figures followed an earlier press conference held by Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou to announce harsher restrictions on free movement after authorities found evidence that some people were not abiding by social distancing rules.
On Sunday, the daily cases more than doubled from 17 on Saturday to 35 plus one death.
Of the seven coronavirus deaths so far, six were men and one woman with an average age of 66 years. Five have underlying health issues.
“The ministry of health has made clear the seriousness of the situation,” said virologist Leonitios Kostrikis.
Of Monday’s new cases, two had recently come from Europe, four had contact with previously diagnosed cases while authorities are looking into another 10 infections of unknown origin.
Kostrikis said these cases are not to be confused with orphan cases as health services are still looking to see if they came in contact with a known sufferer.
He said 22 of the people diagnosed with the virus and hospitalised have recovered.
The 230 cases were confirmed following 6,847 tests run by the Institute of Neurology and Genetics and the Microbiology Department of the Nicosia General Hospital.
And 130 of these cases were infected in Cyprus.
“Case studies show that the virus was transmitted within the family environment of several patients, indicating that unfortunately no social protection measures were taken,” said Kostrikis.
He called on people to stay home as that is the only way of fighting the virus, as there are no drugs or vaccine at the moment.
“This is the only way to protect ourselves and the people around us.”
Dr Marios Loizou of the State Health Services Organisation (OKYPY) said 24 people are at Famagusta General Hospital. Five of them remained at the ICU and four people were discharged from the hospital on Monday.
Ten patients are on ventilators, seven at the Nicosia General Hospital’s ICU, and three at the Limassol General Hospital ICU.
Loizou that the rate of 10-20 cases a day may seem like small numbers but percentage-wise these figures are huge.
“Unfortunately, we have to repeat the seriousness of the situation on a daily basis. We are dealing with a dangerous deadly enemy. Pneumonia, respiratory failure and other complications like heart problems, brought on by the disease can create a very difficult situation for the patient.”
He repeated that 80% of people contracting the virus will get through it with only mild symptoms, about 15-20% will need hospitalisation and 5% will need intensive care.
“The smaller the number of seriously ill patients we have, the smaller the number of people needing to be hospitalised in an ICU, which means the fewer deaths we will have,” said Loizou.
Meanwhile, authorities in the Turkish occupied north announced another five cases on Monday, bringing the number to 69.
On Saturday, Turkish Cypriot authorities announced the first COVID-19 related death in the north when a 67-year-old German tourist lost his life after contracting the disease.
Divided Cyprus has now recorded 299 cases and eight deaths since March 9.