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

COVID19: Cyprus death toll rises, November could be worst month

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Cyprus said a fourth person died on Friday with the cause of death related to Covid-19, after three had been announced earlier in the day.

This raised the total for the past seven days to 12, as a surge in infections has seen nearly 30% of all deaths come in the last week. In all, 38 have died since the pandemic started – 24 men and 14 women – with an average age of 75.

Initially, the Health Ministry announced the deaths of two men aged 85 and 72 – both with underlying health issues – and a 54-year-old woman with no other serious health problems who was taken to Limassol General.

The fourth death announced in the afternoon was an 80 year old man with underlying health issues.

The ministry said that 3,088 tests were conducted on Friday with 207 positive cases of SARS-CoV-2, raising the total since March to 6,853.

So far, the cases announced in November have been in three digits with the to-date figure reaching 2,280, a third of all cases. This is a worrying number that prompted the government’s scientific advisors to call for stricter measures, with Limassol and Paphos undergoing a partial lockdown until the end of the month.

All unnecessary travel to and from the two towns has been restricted and schools are operating online.

The government also announced a series of furlough packages and grants for affected businesses in these two towns, estimated at €30 mln a month.

Workers in essential services, as well as salesman, will have to undergo frequent testing at designated centres, and carry an official document issued by their employer justifying that person to travel.

For the second day in a row, the ministry did not report positive cases among passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, nor from migrant camps, while targeted testing among students and teachers resulted in two cases and one from test samples among football players.

The ministry added that 59 patients are being treated in state hospitals in all towns, including the main Covid-referral centre at Famagusta General.

Last weekend saw a surge in infection reports after 92 cases were discovered among mainly foreign workers at the CYPRA abattoir. Despite shutting down the slaughterhouse, a further 22 people were also infected in the nearby Kato Moni community.