COVID19: New Cyprus cases raise fears of Limassol cluster

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Cyprus confirmed two coronavirus cases on Friday, but in a worrying trend, both cases were classified as ‘orphan’, meaning that health authorities have not traced the source of the infection while both were found in Limassol.

There have been several other cases in Limassol where authorities were unable to detect the source of the COVID-19 infection which could lead to the town becoming a hotspot if the trend isn’t contained.

Friday’s two new cases follow a string of ‘mystery’ infections in Limassol over the past three weeks which has Cyprus health authorities concerned over the formation of new clusters.

The Health Ministry said Friday’s two infections did not come into close contact with a known case, nor did they have a recent travel history.

Worried that these cases are an indication the virus is active in the community, health authorities have warned the public once again to be vigilant and adhere to hygiene, social distancing rules if Cyprus is to prevent another wave of infections.

The first case was tested privately after losing their sense of smell, while the second case was sent to be tested through their General Practitioner after developing a fever.

The two COVID-19 cases were detected among 1,109 tests carried out on Friday, with total infections since March now at 1,047.

According to epidemiological data, one case was identified out of some 223 tests carried out at private labs and one case found amongst 57 tests on people belonging to special groups referred by their GPs through public health centres.

Some 131 samples taken from contacts of known cases and another 595 from people returning to Cyprus and international arrivals came back negative.

So did 69 tests carried out at the state hospital microbiological labs and 34 tests carried on people returning to work as part of the second third stage of easing the lockdown.

The Health Ministry has called on employees working at gyms, shopping malls, hotels, airports and other businesses offering services to make use of the latest 10,000 free testing scheme warning that complacency could damage the country’s good epidemiological outlook.

This programme also covers people working in museums, libraries, archaeological sites, ports, and higher education summer private programmes.

The scheme will run until 12 August and people can book an appointment to be tested free of charge by calling the lab running the scheme on behalf of the government at 22-267899.

Testing is available in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and Famagusta.