COVID19: Record Cyprus tests as cases stay high

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As Cyprus ramps up its testing programme to tackle COVID-19 it reported another three-digit figure for cases on Saturday taking the total since the outbreak to 8,498.

November is the worst month for accumulated infections since the outbreak began in March.

The Health Ministry said that a total of 13,443 tests were conducted on Saturday, of which 7,235 were with the more accurate PCR method, producing 274 positive cases, while a further 6,208 antigen rapid tests found 79 positive results that will need to be confirmed by PCR.

This is a record for the number of tests conducted on a single day, nearly half of which was the free antigen rapid tests held across the island that got underway this week.

The majority of Saturday’s positive cases (101) were from private initiative while track and trace found 45 cases of close contacts.

A further 36 cases were positive results from the rapid tests of previous days that needed to be confirmed by the PCR method.

Some 573 tests on passenger arrivals at Larnaca and Paphos airports produced one positive result.

There were also five cases from 174 tests taken from school pupils and staff and there were three cases among 393 tests on migrants.

Another 18 cases were found from 1,027 samples taken from workers needing a test to travel during the lockdown in Limassol and Paphos

The rapid tests identified four infections in Paphos, 24 in Limassol, 10 in Larnaca, 29 in Nicosia and 12 in Famagusta.

These results suggest the spike in Paphos is subsiding while Nicosia is showing signs of becoming a new hotspot.

The Health Ministry said that 63 patients are being treated at Famagusta General, three in the acute care unit and in other state hospitals in Nicosia and Limassol there are another 28 patients.

Cyprus’ epidemiological data has deteriorated to a 14-day cumulative rate of 270.1 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population, up from 247.5 (November 8), and 207.9 (October 24) the week before that.

Paphos’ rate on 16 November had dropped to 169 from 226.4 per 100,000 inhabitants, as did Limassol’s to 502.2 from 516.9.

The ‘safe’ benchmark according to the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) is 150 per 100,000.