COVID19: Cyprus cases edge toward 600

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Cyprus reported another 31 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday as infections remain relatively high for the island’s size taking the total to 595 since the outbreak last month.

COVID-19 cases dropped to 31 after being on the rise for three consecutive days, Thursday saw 38 new cases, rising from 32 on Wednesday, 29 on Tuesday and 19 on Monday.

Daily cases have consistently been lower since reaching a peak of 58 on 1 April.

According to Cyprus health authorities, a total of 10 COVID-19 patients have died as a direct cause of coronavirus.

Seven men and three women have died from the virus with an average of 67.

Health authorities said that 15 of the new cases came from tracing contacts of those already infected, one who returned from a foreign trip, and 15 are being investigated.

Presenting Friday’s results on behalf of the Health Ministry, Dr Leontios Kostrikis, said that the 31 new cases were detected from a total of 819 tests.

A total of 16,308 tests have been carried out yielding 595 positive results, 439 cases were infected in Cyprus.

Dr Kostrikis said the fact that figures were lower than the previous day, combined with the 58 patients treated for COVID-19 in hospitals having fully recovered, “allows us to believe that the shimmer of light we are seeing will become brighter if we continue abiding by the decrees issued”.

He did note, however, that 31 is still a high number and Cypriots should continue being on the alert.

Dr Marios Loizou of the Cyprus State Health Services Organisation said that 28 people are being treated at COVID-19 referral hospital Famagusta General.

Four patients are in the Special Care Unit, while five were discharged.

Eleven people are on life-support, two at Limassol General Hospital’s ICU and another 9 at Nicosia General ICU. Their condition is stable but critical.

Addressing people’s concerns on whether or not they should be wearing a protective mask in public, Loizou said that the World Health Organisation does not recommend the use of masks by the general population if they are not infected with the virus.

“According to the WHO, wearing a mask while not ill, may also create a false sense of security diverting people’s attention from sticking to personal hygiene habits such as frequently washing hands and not touching the face.”

He added the European Center for Infection Prevention and Control Diseases (ECDC) said that according to each country’s epidemiological data, the general population could use masks in crowded places like supermarkets and bakeries.

Asked about reports that frontline workers such as cashiers at supermarkets and bakeries have reportedly been diagnosed after being tested at private laboratories, Dr Kostrikis said that the health authorities were aware of this.

Mass testing

“In the coming days, we will be performing such tests on 20,000 such frontline workers. Meanwhile, we urge people working in such places to wear a mask so as to be protected and protect others in the case they have contracted the virus and are asymptomatic.”

The tests are to begin on Saturday, and according to the Health Ministry, this will cover civil servants, members of the National Guard and the Police, and frontline workers such as bank staff, courier offices, petrol stations, supermarkets, kiosks and bakeries.

Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot authorities announced another three COVID-19 cases on Friday, taking the total number of infections in the Turkish occupied north to 99 and three deaths.

The three new cases involve Turkish Cypriots who recently returned from abroad.

According to YeniDuzen, ‘health minister’ Ali Pilli announced that 275 tests took place in the last 24 hours identifying three new cases.

Authorities have performed 3,890 tests so far.

“We are targeting to test 15,000 people, with priority given to those who came into contact with known cases,” Pilli said.

Health services in the north have given the all-clear to 44 COVID-19 patients.

Divided Cyprus now has 694 confirmed cases and 13 deaths.