COVID19: Health minister may call for use of masks indoors, as Cyprus cases revised to 10

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Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou expressed concern about the number of positive COVID-19 cases discovered from a targeted sampling of 3,000 people in Limassol, after Thursday’s epidemiological report was revised from four to ten infections.

After the six new cases were traced to Limassol, where there has been an upsurge of coronavirus infections in recent days, the health ministry warned that the police will intensify its inspections of public areas and venues with large crowds, especially in Limassol.

The minister will make statements at noon on Friday after a meeting with the epidemiological advisory team at the presidential palace, where harsher measures are expected to be announced, including the possibility of re-introducing the obligatory use of masks in all indoor areas.

Initially on Thursday, the health ministry said that the COVID-19 infection cases in Cyprus dropped to four having rocketing to 13 on Wednesday, while the country’s coronavirus reference hospital has reopened to treat five patients admitted in the past few days.

The four cases were found after 1,789 tests were carried, raising the total of COVID-19 cases in Cyprus to 1,084.

Out of the four new cases, two were found in Limassol where a cluster seems to have formed and a total of 24 people have been tested positive since 13 July, according to health ministry sources.

They were found along with one more case through 714 tests carried out at private labs.

A fourth case involved a cleaner at a hotel traced after some 268 tests were carried out on employees returning to work during the last stages of relaxing the lockdown. The Health Ministry did not name the hotel where the cleaner is employed, nor the district the hotel is located in.

The ministry said that some 162 tests carried out on contacts of known cases came back negative.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry revealed that five patients are being treated at the Famagusta General Hospital, which operates as a reference hospital, while another patient currently at the Nicosia General is to be transferred there on Friday.

The Cyprus News Agency reported that one patient has been admitted to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

Asked by the Financial Mirror if the six patients were all admitted on Thursday, a Health Ministry official could not determine the exact day.

Famagusta general hospital has not treated a coronavirus patient for more than three weeks when its last patient was discharged on 7 July.