COVID: Cyprus cases spike to 268 on rapid test results

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Cyprus COVID-19 cases spiked to 268 on Thursday with a record 12,363 tests conducted on a single day, half of which were the free antigen rapid tests held throughout the country that got underway at the start of the week.

The conventional testing method using the more accurate PCR system produced 226 positive cases of SARS-CoV-2, two short of Tuesday’s 228, yet significantly more than Wednesday’s 198.

Added to this were 42 confirmations from the antigen rapid tests held during the past few days, raising the day’s positive infections to 268 and the to-date figure since the pandemic started to 7,979.

For the first time in a few days, there were no reported COVID-19 cases among passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, at football clubs and at migrant shelters.

However, of 37 cases found at care homes and rehabilitation centres for the elderly, news reports said 33 were from a single establishment in Kyperounta. Some 21 of the 24 inmates were found to be infected with the virus, as well as 12 of the 17 staff, a village council official told Antenna TV.

He added that only one person was taken to the Covid-reference clinic at Famagusta General hospital, a facility that is already nearing capacity.

The rapid tests, that are less accurate, doubled from Wednesday’s 3,049 to 6,007 and identified 93 new coronavirus cases that will require confirmation.

Testing continued at the 16 mobile labs producing four positive results in Paphos, 23 in Limassol, 8 in Larnaca, 42 in Nicosia and 16 in Famagusta district.

The health ministry said that 81 patients are currently being treated at Famagusta and other state hospitals.

On Wednesday, Cyprus announced its 41st death, with more than a dozen dying during the past two weeks and mostly elderly people 75 or older.

Meanwhile, representatives of the state hospitals’ administration OKYPY told members of the parliamentary health committee on Wednesday that due to the strain on the current workforce, Cyprus is considering asking the Chinese authorities for assistance with epidemiologists.

Officials said that although the current capacity at the Covid-reference clinic at Famagusta General, as well as the special wards at Limassol General and Nicosia General hospitals could be increased by 200 beds, there is a clear shortage of staff, and that the possibility of requesting expertise from China has been discussed between the Health Minister and the Chinese ambassador in Nicosia.