COVID19: Cyprus cases spike, Brazilian footballer, Syrian refugees

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Cyprus reported a jump in new daily cases of coronavirus with six instances reported on Thursday, the second time it has diverted from a month-long pattern of low single digits or zero infections.

This is the second time in a week, the island’s health authorities reported a spike in cases, after Sunday’s seven.

Thursday’s positive cases involved three Syrian migrants, a Brazilian footballer and more alarmingly, two locally transmitted infections.

The three Syrian migrants arrived earlier this week via the occupied north of Cyprus and were tested before they were sent to a reception facility.

A fourth case involved Brazil footballer Juan Felipe who recently signed for top-flight club Enosis Paralimni.

The case was also confirmed by his club after he arrived in Cyprus on Wednesday night.

Of more concern to health authorities are the two cases detected through tracing of contacts of known cases.

The two were close contacts of a Paphos hotel employee who had tested positive on 8 July.

This brings the total of coronavirus cases in the Republic to 1,031 and 19 deaths since the March lockdown.

The three Syrian refugees were tested among 131 samples collected as part of referrals from GPs and special groups screening at public health centres.

Paralimni’s Brazilian footballer was tested at the airport along with another 767 as part of a testing scheme on repatriated Cypriots and passengers.

The two local infections were found among some 95 tests carried out on contacts of known cases.

According to epidemiological data, no positive cases were detected from 23 lab tests on employees who went back to work during phase two and three of easing restrictive measures, or 114 tests carried out by the Microbiological Labs of general hospitals.

Also returned negative were 374 tests completed at private laboratories.