COVID19: Cyprus cases rise to 1057, Limassol clusters worry health officials

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Four new cases of SARS-CoV-2 were reported on Sunday, raising the total number of coronavirus infections in Cyprus to 1,057.

However, state health officials have been warning against complacency and insisted that the public maintain simple protocols such as social distancing and wearing protective masks wherever possible, after a worrying number of cases in Limassol in the past few days suggests people are defying these rules.

Two of the new COVID-19 pandemic cases reported on Sunday were a couple who had returned from Holland, a class-B country requiring testing and quarantine upon arrival, but who tested negative at Larnaca airport.

The same couple later took the initiative to test themselves, privately and without showing symptoms, only for their sample to turn out positive.

The third case was a patient admitted to a state hospital and subjected to a pre-operation test that turned out positive, while the fourth case of the day was asymptomatic and found from contact tracing related to a cluster reported in Limassol on Thursday. This is the fifth person from that cluster that was initially discovered on Tuesday, July 21.

Apart from four ‘imported’ cases of football players found to be coronavirus carriers in recent weeks, the next big surge has been reported in densely populated public areas, such as the Limassol Marina, where several cases were discovered linked to a gym.

Two Limassol restaurants and cafes, the Wagamama in the marina and Costa Coffee on Makarios Avenue, issued announcements on Sunday, having been identified as the source of five of the six COVID-19 cases reported on Saturday, saying that their properties were thoroughly disinfected and that the new staff has been tested negative for the coronavirus.

The announcement by Wagamama Limassol Marina said that the persons tested positive with COVID-19 had been off duty in the past few days and were asymptomatic.

Costa Coffee said one staff associate was removed and the property was disinfected. It added that the rest of the café’s staff were also subjected to new testing to ensure the health of the workers and customers.

Of the six cases reported on Saturday, one was linked to the UK while the other five were traced to cases in Limassol where experts fear a new cluster is forming.

The person who tested positive had a recent history of travel and was included among 288 samples of people who were tested by private initiative.

He was a Cypriot living in the UK who came to the island on July 16 and provided a negative COVID-19 test on arrival.

A test came back positive as he was nearing the end of his mandatory quarantine, the Health Ministry said.

According to an infographics bulletin issued by the Ministry of Health up to 23 July, 26 people who tested positive passed away, while COVID-19 was the cause of death for 19 of them.

A total of 852 people or 83.6% recovered while 21,758.3 tests per 100,000 population were completed.

Between June 24 and July 23, 75% of the people who contracted the disease were men while 25% were women and 89% were aged between 18 to 59.

Another 7% were aged 17 or under while 4% was over 60, some 34 cases were imported while 21 were locally transmitted.

During the same period, there were two new hospital admissions on June 28 and July 7, one of whom was discharged on July 6.