COVID19: Cyprus passes 15,000 mark, 1 death and 301 new cases

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Cyprus passed the 15,000 mark by reporting 301 COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with a gradual slowdown of new coronavirus infections and one death, as December remains on track to becoming the worst month since the pandemic started.

The death toll has reached 78, mainly elderly, of whom 33 were in December alone and 15 in November, while Cyprus reported only 32 cases of SARS-CoV-2 from March to the end of October.

The latest victim was an 84 year old woman, with underlying health issues, initially admitted from an old’s people’s home who died at Limassol General hospital where she was being treated for the coronavirus.

The 301 new cases included 95 confirmations of the antigen rapid tests diagnosed on previous days, with the final number of confirmations expected to spike again as test labs do not operate fully over the weekends. The total since March is now 15,101.

On Friday, Cyprus recorded a record 424 COVID-19 cases, while the number dropped slightly on Saturday to 324, as the daily infections had been in the 300-400 range all week.


‘Light lockdown’ since Friday

Cyprus has been under a ‘lighter lockdown’ since Friday morning with all shopping malls, restaurants, bars, cafés, cinemas and theatres having to shut. All shops close at 7pm and a general curfew is in place from 9pm in an effort to contain the second wave of the virus, until a vaccine programme begins some time at the end of February.

Church services are held without the public in attendance and Christmas will probably be a home affair, just as Easter was celebrated in a muted environment.

Tourism revenue, by far the island’s biggest earner, has been nearly wiped out with all hopes of a recovery based on the progress anticipated in other markets, mainly Britain, the rest of Europe and Russia.

The Health Ministry said that 120 people are currently being treated at state hospitals, 15 of whom are critical, a number that is marginally down from previous days. Of these, 68 were admitted at the Covid-referral clinic at Famagusta General hospital.

In all, 9,845 tests were conducted on Sunday – 2,427 employing the more accurate PCR molecular method and 7,418 rapid tests, that diagnosed 202 positive cases. Although these produce results in less than 30 minutes, they are considered less accurate and require PCR confirmation.

To date in Cyprus, the rapid tests have had a 2-5% negative return.

Sunday’s positive rapid test results, identified through the national free programme, were once again mainly in Nicosia (96) and Larnaca (47), followed by Limassol (23), Famagusta (18) and Paphos (3).

From a targeted testing programme, a further 7 positive cases were identified among teachers, 4 from the Pournara migrants’ shelter and 4 from private initiative.

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