COVID19: Cyprus cases in single-digits but Limassol a concern

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Cyprus on Monday was able to report just five new COVID-19 cases after almost a week of reporting double-digit figures as the virus spiked.

The last time health authorities had announced a single-digit number of new coronavirus cases was last Tuesday when 7 samples had returned positive.

Monday’s cases resulted from 2,581 tests carried out, bringing the total to 1,155.

Two of the new cases have a connection to a cluster building up in Limassol, as they were found after being randomly tested.

One of the cases, however, is also an employee at a Limassol supermarket where a cluster has formed, the Health Ministry said.

They were identified amongst a total of 317 random tests carried out at busy venues in Limassol.

Another two cases have a recent travel history, with one case involving a Cypriot who had returned from London on Sunday.

The other case is also a Cypriot, permanently living in South Africa from where she had returned also on Sunday.

Both were tested upon their arrival at the Larnaca Airport.

A third case was traced through samples tested at general hospital labs.

According to the Health Ministry’s announcement, there are now four patients being treated at Famagusta General, the reference hospital for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, scientists have expressed their concerns over the rising number of cases in Limassol with authorities tracing a worrying number of cases through random testing at busy city venues.

Dr Leontios Kostrikis, an epidemiologist advising the government on handling the coronavirus outbreak, said: “As many as 1000-1500 people may have the coronavirus in Limassol, that’s 1.5% of the town’s population infected by the virus”.

Talking to a Politis radio, Kostrikis said: “My advice to the people is to act like we are in lockdown without actually being in lockdown.”

He argued that it would appear that the initial epicentre of the flare-up appears to be Limassol marina.

“What troubles me is why Limassol and why the marina?” said Kostrikis.

He pointed out that people arriving at the marina from other countries are not respecting the measures, while authorities are not performing proper checks on yacht arrivals.

Cases in the Turkish occupied north have reached 151 as of Sunday, with Turkish Cypriot health authorities announcing five new cases, all involving contacts of known cases.

Divided Cyprus has a combined 1,306 COVID-19 cases.