The health authorities announced 174 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 on Tuesday as Cyprus gets ready for stricter measures, including a nationwide curfew, possibly from Wednesday.
The total of all infections since the pandemic broke in March is now 4,934 with the 5,000 marker expected to be breached later on Wednesday.
The total for the first three days of November rose to 568, including a runaway cluster at an old people’s home in Limassol where 35 coronavirus cases were discovered on Monday, and two deaths so far, both elderly people aged 91. Two more positive infections were linked to the home on Tuesday.
The health minister will consult with the cabinet in the afternoon after which President Anastasiades is expected to announce the new stricter measures.
These include a nationwide curfew from 11.30pm to 5am, with all bars and restaurants closing at 10.30pm. The number of people allowed for house visits will remain at six, the same as the maximum number of a group per table at restaurants, while wedding dinner parties or christenings will be reduced from 350 to 150 people. Cocktail parties are banned, as are lines of well-wishers.
Tuesday’s cases are a margin less than the 197 recorded twice in recent days and the all-time high of 202 more than a week ago.
The only sign of improvement came from the R(t) infection rate that has been reduced from 1.5-2 to 1, meaning that every positive case of COVID-19 is transmitting on average only one other person.
Earlier on Tuesday, 11 police officers were quarantined in Limassol, with a further 30 of their colleagues sent home into self-isolation.
The vast majority of cases are locally transmitted by people not adhering to strict health protocols and hygiene measures, with only 9 new cases recorded among passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports.
The number of patients being treated at hospitals rose by two to 42, with health ministry officials saying earlier in the day that a second Covid19-referral hospital is being sought in the public or private sector, anticipating a rise in cases and admissions during the winter months.