Medical and healthcare workers in the struggle to tackle coronavirus. Nicosia General Hospital, Cyprus

COVID19: Cyprus cases drop to 113, gets 200,000 rapid tests

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Cyprus reported 113 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 on Wednesday, in a rollercoaster week that saw the tally peak at 202.

The latest cases raise the total since March to 3,930, but the health ministry is more concerned by the increasing number of patients admitted to hospital for treatment, now at 38.

Most of the infections, identified either through contact tracing or referrals from GPs, are native with only four positive results from 689 tests on passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports.

Officials are worried from the number of patients who have been intubated in order to get treatment, even though some of them had initially shown signs of improvement.

“The rapid rise of infections has brought a dangerous rise in persons needing hospital care, with a risk that these could end up in deaths. We appeal to all to strictly abide by safety measures,” a health ministry announcement said.

“The responsibility lies in all our hands and collectively we have to protect the vulnerable groups and the elderly,” the ministry said.

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides went into self-isolation, it was reported on Wednesday, after a person in the close working surrounding at the ministry was tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday evening.

This is the fourth cabinet member to be quarantined after three high-ranking government officials also went into self-isolation on Tuesday – the minister of transport, the minister of defence and the junior minister for shipping – after coming into contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

On Tuesday, Cyprus reported 181 coronavirus cases, the third highest number to date.

News reports also suggested that the entire mountainous village of Kyperounda is on alert after three clerics, a community football player, members of their church council and some of their relatives were reported to be positive with COVID-19.

“Limit your activities,” community leader Yiorgos Panayiotou warned fellow citizens, according to news reports by sending them all SMS text messages.

He said it involves “at least 6-7 families, but the total number is at present close to about 20 people, with most villagers getting tested on their own, Panayiotou said.

“Those who are positive are in self-isolation at home, in order to contain their infections,” he said.

Meanwhile, the health ministry said it has concluded a deal for the supply of 200,000 units of COVID-19 antigen rapid tests.

The first batch of 50,000 packs will be delivered within ten days and the rest in about 25 days.

The health ministry said this will help conduct rapid tests at hospitals and any place where there are many people, such as army camps and schools, and where speedy results are critical.

“With the supply of the antigen rapid tests, one more defence is added to the arsenal of the competent departments of the ministry for the timely tracing of persons positive for the virus, and to an extent, in the containment of the spread within the community.”