COVID19: Cyprus death toll rises to 13, cases low

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Cyprus on Wednesday recorded another COVID-19 related death, taking the total number of patients to die from the virus to 13, while confirmed new coronavirus cases fell into single digits.

A total of 18 patients who contracted COVID-19 have passed away but only 13 of these deaths had coronavirus as the underlying cause.

The latest COVID-19 death was a 78-year-old man with underlying health conditions who died at Nicosia General Hospital.

Nine of the patients to lose their life due to COVID-19 were men and four were women, the median age was 70.

Health authorities remain optimistic that Cyprus is on the right track and will soon be able to start returning to normality since the outbreak on 9 March.

Cyprus reported 6 more infections on Wednesday, a 50% reduction from the previous day when 12 were confirmed. Tuesday’s 12 cases had followed Monday’s five and Sunday’s 6 cases.

The six positive cases were detected from 1441 tests, bringing the total of confirmed infections in the Cyprus Republic to 790.

Three people tested positive from tracing of already confirmed cases and another was found positive through the tests run by the microbiological labs of all General Hospitals.

Some 141 tests were carried out in private labs which detected one case.

Another case was identified from the tests carried out on health workers at public hospitals. The case involves a health professional working at the Larnaca General Hospital.

The Health Ministry said that 705 tests within the framework of 20,000 tests for frontline workers were carried out on Wednesday. All tests came back negative.

Since April 11, some 11,118 out of the 20,000-test programmed were carried out.

Health Ministry advisor Dr Leontios Kostrikis said that Wednesday’s results show that Cyprus is on the right track, allowing authorities to start planning for easing restrictions.

The way forward

He said on Wednesday morning, the Epidemiological Monitoring Unit advised President Nicos Anastasiades on what they believe is the best way of relaxing measures and returning to normality.

“We have informed the President and we are in constant communication with the Health Ministry,” said Kostrikis.

“We have tabled our views on the gradual lifting of restrictive measures. Of course, this is not the end of the road, but we are on a very good path. But everything should be done after authorities make the necessary preparations,” he added.

Dr Marios Loizou of the Cyprus State Health Services Organisation said 15 patients are hospitalized at the Famagusta COVID-19 reference hospital, three of whom are in the Advanced Care Unit (ACU).

Their condition is described as generally stable. One patient was discharged.

Seven people are now intubated, one of whom is at the ICU of Limassol General Hospital and six at the ICU in Nicosia General Hospital.

Two more patients are hospitalized at Nicosia General Hospital ICU, but they are not on a ventilator.

All of the ICU patients are critical but stable.

Commenting on easing the lockdown, Loizou said that it will depend on epidemiological data combined with the state’s capacity to monitor the spread of the virus within the community through extensive testing and the capacity of the healthcare system.

He argued that authorities will need to monitor vulnerable groups such as health professionals, the elderly and closed communities such as prisons and refugee camps.

“Tracking of contacts of known cases will continue to be crucial, while the country’s health system will need to be shielded and upgraded if we are to safely move forward”.