Just as Cyprus saw the rate of daily cases gradually subside, Thursday saw a new record of 233 SARS-CoV-2, half of which were identified through contact tracing from confirmed coronavirus infections.
To date, Cyprus has had 5,333 cases since the pandemic started in March.
The Ministry of Health said it conducted 3,756 tests for COVID-19 during the past 24 hours, of which 834 targeted contacts of confirmed infections and 113 of those tested positive.
This prompted the ministry to say in an announcement that one in seven who were tested through the contact tracing method were positive infections.
“We are equally concerned by the rapid rise in the number of infections that need hospital care,” the ministry said, with the number of patients being treated rising from 57 on Wednesday to 65.
“This is an increase of 23 patients from last Thursday, and despite the readiness of the hospitals and health professionals, the capabilities of the Cyprus health system are not limitless.
“This requires great vigilance and strict adherence to the measures. The protection of the elderly and the vulnerable groups depends on the collective responsibility of all of us,” the ministry concluded.
During the past week, Cyprus recorded two deaths, both elderly at 91 years old and both referred from care homes.
Of the remaining positive cases announced on Thursday, 11 were passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, four were from schools, one was from targeted testing among football clubs and two were migrants.
Earlier on Thursday, an expert on infectious diseases said if new coronavirus containment restrictions are observed then Cyprus will see a steady but gradual decrease in COVID-19 cases within two weeks.
Maria Koliou, chairperson of the Medical Association’s committee on coronavirus, said the previous measures introduced prevented an increase in infection rates even if cases have stayed in three-digits.
Although there has been a rise in the number of patients admitted to hospital which shows a worsening of the situation.
Koliou said the new restrictions announced on Wednesday – an overnight curfew, restaurants shutting early until the end of November – would complement the effectiveness of the previous measures which included mask-wearing.
If the new raft of measures proved ineffective, Koliou said there would be stricter ones introduced, depending on the number of cases and COVID patients in hospital.
She argued that imposing a lockdown was not an easy decision, not only from a financial point of view but also a psychological one, due to the fact that many people are alone, mostly the elderly, who would suffer.
Labour minister Zeta Emilianidou said on Thursday that the government has introduced more schemes worth €150 mln to support business, workers and the unemployed.
She said the government has approved special funding schemes to help businesses stay afloat and people hammered by the coronavirus outbreak to avoid unemployment.
Since the coronavirus outbreak in March, a total of €530 mln has been provided by the Labour Ministry in COVID emergency funds and supported more than 190,000 workers.
The minister said this time around over 60,000 employees plus those who are receiving unemployment benefit are expected to receive assistance under the new schemes.