COVID19: Cyprus may consider lockdown as new cases drop to 116

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Officials in Cyprus are considering a second lockdown, an ultimate measure the government has dreaded to take, as measures to control the coronavirus do not seem to be working, despite the number of daily cases dropping to 116.

The Health Ministry said on Sunday that some 2,803 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, less than on other days, with more than half of the 116 new COVID-19 cases discovered through contact tracing of existing infections.

A further 11 positive cases were identified among 1,173 tests of passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, raising the national total of all infections since the pandemic started to 5,987.

Some 77 patients are being treated in hospitals, up from 69 on Saturday.

News reports said on Sunday that President Anastasiades will be meeting with the scientific advisory team on Monday afternoon to consider taking further measures, in addition to the ones announced last week.

Local TV station Antenna reported that a second lockdown is likely if the government’s epidemiologists think that matters have gotten out of control.

October has been the worst month of COVID-19 infections in Cyprus, with major clusters, primarily in Limassol and Paphos prompting the government to impose the harshest measures in these two towns, with a national curfew until the end of November.

During the past two weeks, the daily cases peaked above 200.

Saturday’s daily count touched a record 314 while there was one more COVID-19 death reported as the health ministry said hospitals are near capacity.

Cyprus continues to record negative milestones in this second wave of coronavirus despite the government introducing a raft of measures including mask-wearing, early closing of hospitality venues and a night-time curfew the virus has not abated.

While other European countries, including Greece, have gone into lockdown, Cyprus has tried to avoid this scenario hoping that tighter restriction will work.

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou again pleaded with the public on Saturday to observe protocols and guidelines to save the health system and stay safe.

A large chunk of Saturday’s cases was from at the CYPRA abattoir and meat processing plant in Nicosia where 92 infections were found from 146 tests and the entire workforce has been sent home for self isolation.

The health ministry said on Sunday that an investigation was under way and an entirely new shift was brought in to operate the slaughterhouse. The ministry added that it was testing workers at another abattoir to see if there was any link from the CYPRA infections.