COVID19: Cyprus stunned by record 348 cases, 2 deaths

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Cyprus announced two deaths and a record 348 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 on Thursday, 56 more than the day before, with December already on its way to toppling November as the worst month since the pandemic started.

Last month alone also accounted for about two thirds of all infections in Cyprus.

A woman and a man, both aged 87 and with underlying health issues, succumbed to the coronavirus, raising the death toll to 54, with three deaths announced on Wednesday.

The 87 year old woman was being treated at Nicosia General hospital, while the man was at the Ekali rehabilitation centre in Limassol, from where he was sent to the Covid-referral clinic at Famagusta General. To date, 36 men have died from COVID-19 and 18 women, with the average age raised by a year to 76.

The health ministry said that a total of 9,923 tests were conducted on Thursday, of which 3,525 employed the molecular PCR testing system, diagnosing 249 cases, while 99 more were confirmations from the antigen rapid tests on previous days.

The total for all coronavirus infections is now 11,523.

On the day, mobile units conducted 6,398 rapid tests, diagnosing 162 new coronavirus cases that will require PCR confirmation. On average some 4% to 5% of rapid tests have produced negative results, with the rest expected to be added to the daily PCR tests results, possibly taking Friday’s total nearer to the unprecedented 400 infections.

A health ministry spokesperson said that 122 tests were conducted at two homes for the elderly in Nicosia, of which 60 were diagnosed as positive – 11 from the Ayios Antonios old peoples’ home and 49 from Chrysi Ilikia (“Golden Age”).

The tests at Ayios Antonios were a repeat and followed the two infections discovered there on November 26. At Chrysi Ilikia, staff members had tested positive and as a result all the residents were also tested.

The ministry official said that in both homes, the vast majority of diagnosed virus infections were elderly residents.

The PCR tests also showed that 415 tests on passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, 19 from migrant shelters and 418 samples that targeted schools, all returned negative results.

The programme of free rapid tests, with about 90,000 samples to date out of a national scheme of 600,000, is showing a shift away from the high-risk clusters that formed in Limassol and Paphos in October, resulting in the lockdown of the two towns for the second half of November.

Only 17 of the day’s infections were diagnosed in Limassol and 6 in Paphos, while 51 new cases were discovered in Larnaca, 76 in Nicosia and 11 in Famagusta district.

The number of patients being treated at state hospitals remained unchanged at 124, with just over half, or 64, at the Covid-referral clinic at Famagusta General hospital.