COVID19: Cases ‘stabilise’ at 43, Cyprus worried by patient admissions

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Cyprus health official announced 43 new SARS-CoV-2 cases on Monday, a far cry from the previous week’s daily reports that on two occasions exceeded 100 and 200 infections.

This brings the national infections rate for coronavirus to 2,687.

However, a health ministry spokesperson said that the 2,558 tests conducted earlier in the day did not include samples collected on Sunday when most of the labs were not working. She added that the targeted testing also did not include samples from the football association’s programme of checking players for Covid-19 or from old people’s and care homes.

State officials are more concerned by the growing number of patient admissions at the hospitals, currently at 23, one of whom in intensive care and two remain intubated and in ‘serious’ condition.

Of Monday’s initial 43 cases, 18 were identified through 292 contact tracing tests linked or related to positive subjects, while a thorough testing of some 1,577 passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports produced only four positive results.

Earlier on Monday, the University of Nicosia announced that two of its medical students tested positive for COVID-19.  The students are enrolled at the Department of Life and Health Sciences and are both well with mild symptoms.

According to the announcement, the university implemented an action plan with disinfections.

Moreover, during the next ten days, the laboratory classes of the department will take place online to avoid contacts or further spreading of the virus. All those who had been in contact with the two infected students have been informed and are in self-isolation.

The university added in its announcement that since the beginning of the year, all theoretical classes are carried out online.

Cyprus football continues to be haunted by COVID-19, as topflight Pafos FC confirmed that two of its footballers tested positive. Pafos FC’s announcement sounded the alarm at APOEL FC who played Pafos for a championship game on Sunday night.

A member of the presidential security detail was also reported on Monday as having been infected with the coronavirus after a visit to Limassol.

Speaking to reporters, government spokesperson Kyriacos Koushos confirmed that one of the officers serving in the presidential guard has been found positive for the virus, but has not yet displayed any serious symptoms.

Koushos and President Anastasiades were also tested along with the presidential palace staff.

According to Koushos, the guard had contracted the virus during a visit to Limassol, which has become the new epicentre of the virus in Cyprus.

A government decree sees stricter measures imposed on the Limassol district where restaurants, cafes, bars, snack bars serving food must close at 10.30 pm.

It is also strictly advised that Limassol residents stay home after 11.30 pm.

The decision was taken after the deterioration of the epidemiological outlook and increased infections associated with bars and coffee shops.

The news of the 43 cases comes after health officials raised the alarm over the increasing number of cases being admitted into hospital.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, Dr. Amalia Hadjiyianni, chief scientist at Larnaca and Famagusta General hospitals, said that medical staff are prepared for the worst-case scenario as the number of patients rises dangerously.

Hadjiyianni said 20 patients were being treated at the COVID referral hospital at Famagusta General, one of whom in the intensive care unit.

A further 61 patients are at the Eden rehabilitation centre at Tersefanou, near Larnaca.

Hadjiyianni noted that as the number of cases rises, the average age of patients is dropping.

“We are now caring for younger patients, as the youngest one treated at the Famagusta hospital is 26 years old.

“Currently, the youngest COVID-19 patient being treated is 30 years old, while the oldest is 80. The average age of patients is now 60, but we are witnessing a drop in the median age, while symptoms remain the same, that is fever, cough, sore throat and difficulty in breathing.”