COVID19: ‘Light lockdown’ off to a bad start with 3 deaths, record 424 new cases

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Cyprus marked a new record in daily COVID-19 cases on Friday, topping 424 and three deaths, making it the deadliest day since the pandemic started and with December headed to be the worst month to date in containing the virus.

Cyprus has so far recorded 14,476 cases.

Friday was also the first day of the second ‘light lockdown’ introduced by the government until December 31 in an effort to put a stop to a new wave of coronavirus infections.

The first ‘light lockdown’ was limited to Limassol and Paphos in the second half of November, where new infections seem to have slowed.

The new national measures include shutting down all malls, restaurants, bars, cafés, cinemas and theatres, with shop-owners saying their business are destroyed.

Church services will be held without the public in attendance.

Anti-vac and anti-mask protestors took to the streets on Thursday evening, with one instance turning violent in Nicosia and the police intervening with water cannons.

In all, 26 people have died during the first eleven days of this month, accounting for just over a third of all 75 deaths so far.

All three had underlying medical histories. One was a 63 year old man who died at Nicosia General hospital, the other was a woman aged 83, being treated at the Covid-referral clinic at Famagusta General and the third was a man, 81, also at Famagusta General who was admitted from Kyperounta community home that has already counted several deaths so far.

To date, 49 men have died and 26 women, with an average age of 77 years.

Of the 18 positive cases diagnosed at community centres and care homes, 9 were at the Peristerone old people’s home, 8 at the Ayios Antonios home in Nicosia and one from the Hope for Children shelter.

The new cases of SARS-CoV-2 included 122 confirmations of positive results diagnosed by the less-accurate antigen rapid tests.

However, the number of patients being treated at state hospitals reached 110, four more than the previous day, but the number of critical patients dropped from 20 to 17. Of these, 59 are at the Covid-clinic at Famagusta General.

Some 12,816 tests were conducted on Friday, of which 3,922 employed the more accurate molecular PCR method and 8,894 rapid tests, that generate results in less than 30 minutes. Some 213 new positive cases were diagnosed that will now require PCR confirmation over the next few days.

These were traced in Limassol (7), Larnaca, (48), Nicosia (94), Paphos (2) and Famagusta (26). Six of the 831 tests of civil servants were positive, as well as 30 from among 481 tests conducted by private initiative.

Meanwhile, the Transport Ministry revised an earlier decree saying that the maximum number of passengers allowed on buses and in taxis is no more than 50% of the seat capacity, with the exception of special buses for large families that may carry 100% of the capacity.

Where the driver is not protected by a shield or partition, the seats next and behind the driver must be vacant, the ministry said, adding that buses should be disinfected at least once every four routes, while at long stops all doors and windows remain open. Air conditioners will not be operated.

Masks are necessary, regardless of age groups, the ministry concluded.