COVID19: Cyprus cases rise to 228, rapid tests a game changer

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Health officials announced 228 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 on Tuesday, double the number of the past few days, as Cyprus also introduced rapid antigen tests as part of a national programme to track the coronavirus, especially after a dramatic increase sent the towns of Limassol and Paphos into partial lockdown.

The Health Ministry said that 8,887 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours of which 2,592 in the capital Nicosia and in Limassol, as the public rushed to take advantage of free tests for residents and workers in Limassol and Paphos in order to secure exemption or a travel pass.

All of the 703 tests in the greater Paphos region came back negative.

The health ministry added that the wide scale programme that started on Monday will continue for ten days and will include 50,000 tests.

Of the positive cases, only two were from among passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, with the total number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started reaching 7,513.

The ministry said that 54 patients are being treated at the Covid-referral clinic at Famagusta General hospital, with another 20 at other states hospitals, one less than the 75 who were in hospital care on Monday.

The ministry added that the 50 positive cases that arose from Monday’s rapid tests were now being processed through the more accurate PCR system to get confirmation, while a further 46 news positive cases were recorded on Tuesday from among 2,698 rapid tests at 11 mobile labs.

According to health officials, rapid antigen tests are highly reliable with an efficiency rate of 92% to 98% and the results are ready within 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, 16 migrants staying at the Kophinou centre in Nicosia district were tested positive for COVID-19 and earlier on Tuesday refused to be taken to the clinical care home in Tersephanou in Larnaca district.

After staging a protest the police manage to remove 12 of the infected migrants and were taken to the care home for self isolation and possibly treatment. The other four refused to be removed and stayed behind, with health officials saying this was a high health risk.

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