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COVID19: Cyprus cases recounted after tainted tests

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Cyprus’ Health Ministry on Thursday was forced to backtrack on the official number of COVID-19 cases reported when declaring 28 infections were false positives after a lab contaminated the test results.

It said 28 of the 30 positive cases reported on Monday, turned out to be negative following a repeat check.

Some 30 passengers were initially found positive to the coronavirus after being tested upon their arrival at Paphos airport over the weekend.

All 30 of the tests were re-taken after the batch was contaminated by another positive sample.

Only two cases were found to be positive after repeat testing, said the Health Ministry on Thursday.

Following this development, total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Republic of Cyprus now stands at a lower 1,456 and 20 deaths.

Cyprus health authorities on Wednesday evening confirmed another 10 new COVID-19 cases.

Health authorities had found themselves in a tight spot on Wednesday when they had to make a red-faced public apology after authorities said COVID-19 cases detected at the airport on Monday were tainted.

The 30 cases concerned 17 people who arrived from Mykonos, 10 from the Netherlands, 3 from the UK.

All had arrived on three flights either Saturday or Sunday at the Paphos airport.

The two people who were confirmed positive after being tested again had returned from the Greek holiday island of Mykonos.

The false positives resulted in Cyprus reporting the second-highest number of daily coronavirus cases recorded (39) since the outbreak.

Authorities have called off the tracing process regarding close contacts of the cases falsely reported which had got underway.

Distress was caused to family members and close friends of the COVID cases wrongly reported.

The 28 people falsely reported as positive, along with their close contacts were instructed to self-isolate.

Commissioner of Clinical Labs, Carolina Stylianou said the lab behind the mishap was the Microbiological laboratory of Limassol-based Mediterranean Hospital.

Mediterranean Hospital’s lab has been temporarily removed from the list of laboratories contracted by the government to perform COVID-19 tests.

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou, while apologising to the people involved and their close contacts through a tweet on Wednesday, said the incident is under investigation.