COVID19: Cyprus cases steady as tests reach new high

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Cyprus on Tuesday saw another 33 new COVID-19 cases as a scheme to perform 20,000 tests on frontline workers such as medics, soldiers, supermarket staff and bakeries picked up pace.

The 33 new cases were detected from a record 1700 lab tests.

Some 16 of the people found positive were employed at the same Zorbas Bakeries production unit in Aradippou – a Cyprus COVID-19 cluster area – after 10 were detected the day before.

The company itself had confirmed on Tuesday that a number of its employees at its Aradippou facility had tested positive.

The 16 employees were flagged after the management of Zorbas Bakeries took the initiative to have the rest of their staff at the facility tested at a private lab.

All 26 workers found positive were living in the same building, without adhering to social distancing instructions, said the Health Ministry.

Another 650 tests were carried out in the framework of the government scheme to identify possible cases among frontline workers. Tests revealed three new coronavirus cases.

In the parallel routine tracing method, some 13 people were identified after tests on contacts of known COVID-19 cases, one case involved a person who repatriated on Monday.

The Health Ministry said it is pushing to perform more tests on a daily basis.

The 20,000 tests scheme is scheduled to be completed within 20 days.

Cyprus health services have so far carried out 1276 of the 20,000 planned tests to be performed among frontline workers since Saturday.

According to Tuesday’s data, the total number of cases is 695, including 10 in the British Bases.

These cases were detected from a total of some 20,500 tests by the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, the Microbiological Lab at Nicosia General Hospital and private labs.

Health Ministry advisor Dr Leontios Kostrikis said figures for the last 24 hours have made health authorities feel confident as the cases found from tracing contacts is dropping.

However, the high number of cases coming in from testing of frontline workers is alarming.

Kostrikis said it is obvious that the virus is still spreading among the community.

He called on the public to continue abiding by social distancing rules.

Dr Marios Loizou of the Cyprus State Health Services Organisation said there are 23 patients being treated at the Famagusta Referral hospital, two in the Special care Unit while two have been discharged.

There are nine patients on ventilators, three at Limassol General ICU and six at Nicosia General ICU.

The condition of all patients in the ICUs is critical but stable.

Loizou said the 20,000 tests will help authorities gain a clearer picture of the spread of the virus and to identify asymptomatic patients.

“An asymptomatic patient, however, has no fever, no coughing, no sneezing. So as long as people follow hygiene regulations and social distancing decrees, it will be very difficult for an asymptomatic patient to pass on the disease,” said Loizou.