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COVID19: Fears younger vulnerable groups taking risks

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Scientists are worried about the high percentage of younger people belonging to vulnerable groups exposed to the second wave of coronavirus washing across the island.

Experts argue that younger people need to limit their contacts to stay safe.

Head of the government’s team of coronavirus scientists, Dr Constantinos Tsioutis, warned that many young people belong to vulnerable groups at risk to the virus.

“When we refer to vulnerable groups, which are at higher risk of developing more serious symptoms of COVID-19, we should keep in mind that a large percentage of young people in Cyprus belong to such groups”.

Those considered at high risk are people who suffer from hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease (asthma) and a weakened immune system (cancer).

Cyprus’ 14-day COVID cumulative notification rate has reached 343.5 per 100,000, up from 321.6 reported just last Friday and 270.1 a week before that.

On Tuesday, health authorities reported a record 318 cases, the highest daily tally since the virus outbreak in March, with 307 being local infections.

The record number of cases was due to authorities playing catchup with a backlog of rapid tests needing confirmation.

Latest epidemiological data shows an alarming increase in cases in the Nicosia and Famagusta districts.

Famagusta has overtaken Limassol as the new hotspot with a 14-day cumulative notification rate of 452.3 per 100,000 inhabitants from 383.8.

Cases in Nicosia are also increasing dangerously as the capital now has a 14-day cumulative notification rate of 335.1 per 100,000 up from 284.2.

COVID-19 patients treated in hospitals reached a record 131 on Tuesday, while scientists expect the number to exceed 150 by next week.

A record 17 patients are currently in intensive care.

Tsioutis said apart from the death rate, it is taking people longer to recover in hospital while causing other chronic problems.

Among cases diagnosed until 24 November, 48 COVID-19 associated deaths were reported in Cyprus (Case Fatality Risk-CFR: 0.5%).

The COVID-19 associated mortality is now at 5.5 up from 4.6 per 100,000 population.

“We have more than 100 patients every day in hospitals, so we also have 100 families worried about their loved ones”.

Tsioutis called on the public to take decisions wisely when going about their daily lives.

He said that scenes of crowded churches and shops jeopardize the effectiveness of COVID-19 restrictions after a record surge in November.

Cyprus’ COVID-19 case tally is 10,883.