COVID19: Most new Cyprus cases are local infections

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A big jump in recent new infections is down to COVID-19 being transmitted locally rather than cases with a travel history sparking the rise, Health Ministry data shows.

After weeks of low numbers and zero daily cases, authorities reporting double figures has now become the norm, as local infections are the main reason behind the spike.

On Wednesday, Cyprus reported 15 new COVID-19 cases, with seven of the new cases, are contacts of people who already tested positive to the virus.

Whereas Cyprus was reporting none or single-digit new cases for two months, from 28 April till 29 July, with the majority of cases having a travel history, the trend has changed.

According to the latest data by the Health Ministry, 70.6% of cases detected between 20 July and 3 August are local infections.

Of the 119 cases during this period, only 27 concern people who tested positive at the ports of entry or had a recent travel history, whereas 84 are local cases.

Health authorities are still looking into how some eight cases got infected.

Of the 27 cases reported to have a recent travel history, 26 are Cypriots or permanent residents, the ministry said, pointing out that only one involved a tourist from abroad.

Nine of the 27 cases were spotted after being tested at airports.

The Health Ministry said, “the outbreak in cases observed in recent weeks is mainly due to the spread of the coronavirus among people with no travel history”.

It added: “The infections are local, although the chains of transmission seem to have originated from people with a travel history”.

In the latest report, the ministry acknowledges that the resumption of flights to and from Cyprus, as in the rest of the world, has led to the reappearance of imported cases.

“The country has been implementing, since the beginning of the outbreak, stricter measures compared to the rest of the EU, but also the world in general.”

The ministry said Austria, following Cyprus example on mandatory coronavirus checks on people arriving from category B and C countries, has just applied the same rules for a negative COVID-19 test only last week, Germany will follow.

One of the sources of concern for the health authorities are clusters forming in Limassol and Larnaca, with cases reported in Limassol in the past three weeks exceeding 50.

Cyprus has now reported 1,195 COVID-19 cases and 19 deaths since the outbreak on 9 March.