COVID19: Cyprus boasts low transmission rate

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Cyprus can boast it has contained the spread of coronavirus, as the reproductive rate (R0) of COVID-19 is now below 1, meaning that each infected carrier transmits the virus to less than one person.

According to data collected by members of the Epidemiological monitoring unit, the reproductive rate of the novel coronavirus in Cyprus is between 0.30 and 0.7.

Dr George Nicolopoulos, professor of epidemiology and a member of the unit, said that keeping the reproductive rate below 1 was the key which allowed authorities to relax lockdown measures.

Keeping the reproductive rate below is also crucial for future stages of relaxing restrictions, which is why epidemiologists urge people to abide by hygiene and self-protection measures like washing hands and wearing a mask in crowded places.

Aradippou, a village in Larnaca still has the most cases for its 20,000 population, with some 416 cases for every 100,000.

In absolute numbers, Aradippou had 122 cases which represent 15.2% of all cases reported.

The district with the most cases in absolute numbers is Nicosia with 317 (37.9%), followed by Larnaca with 218 (26.1%).

Some 153 cases (18.3%) were recorded in Paphos, 91 (10.9%) in Limassol, 40 (4.8%) in Famagusta, and 17 (2%) were reported either in British bases, had a residence abroad, or information was not available.

According to the Health Ministry’s data until April 28, 836 laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported.

With the latest findings, Cyprus’ health services can boast that they have stabilised cases in the single-digit range while keeping the death toll as low as possible.

Cyprus coronavirus mortality rate stands at 2.4% of all reported cases, with 20 patients that contracted COVID-19 having passed away (but only 15 of these deaths were directly caused by the virus).

This is significantly lower than Italy’s 13.5% and the UK’s 13.4%, Greece’s death rate stands at 5.4% and Sweden’s at 12%.

As of April 28, 20 deaths were reported in Cyprus (Case Fatality Rate – CFR: 2.4%).

The mortality rate for COVID-19 is 2.3 per 100,000 population.

Sixteen deaths (80.0%) occurred in men and four (20.0%) in women; the median age of all deaths was 76 years (IQR: 67-79 years).

Cyprus boasts one of the highest testing rates as a total of  53,120 tests have been performed as of April 28 (6,064.6 per 100,000 population), significantly higher than other countries around the globe.

Italy performs some 3,056.3 for every 100,000, while South Korea does 1,178.5 tests.

Case figures were expected to shoot up after the Health Ministry issued a decree obliging every employee in the food and beverage chain of supply to get tested.

However, the number of confirmed cases is following a downward trend with Cyprus keeping new cases in the single-digit range.

The state has offered an additional 20,000 free tests for frontline workers who are to return to work as of 4 May.

Case characteristics

The median age of cases is 46 (interquartile range – IQR: 32-60 years); 50.5% are female.

By age groups, cases included 51 infants, children and adolescents aged 0-17 (6.1%), 574 adults aged 18-59 years (68.7%), and 210 persons aged 60 and above (25.2%). The age of one notified case has not been recorded at the moment.

In total, 19.6% of patients received hospital care, and 116 patients (70.7%) have been discharged from the hospital. The median age of hospitalized patients was 62 years (IQR: 49.5-72.5 years). Hospitalized cases were mainly males (n = 109; 66.5%).

Overall, 31 cases (18.9% of all hospitalized patients) have been admitted to ICU, of which 6 were still in ICU (as of April 28).

A total of 26 ICU patients (83.9% of all ICU patients) have been intubated, of which 4 (66.7% of all patients currently in ICU) are still intubated

The median age of patients ever admitted to ICU was 66 years (IQR: 56-76 years). ICU patients are mainly male (n = 22; 71.0%).