COVID19: Death toll rises in Cyprus, new cases still high

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Four people died from COVID-19 on Monday, with the death toll in Cyprus rising to 82, of which 37 were recorded in December alone, while the new cases topped 349 infections.

As December gallops to become the worst month since the pandemic started, the national coronavirus total reached 15,450.

On Friday, the first day of a ‘light lockdown’, Cyprus reported a record 424 SARS-CoV-2 cases, while the number dropped slightly on Saturday to 324 and 301 on Sunday, as the daily infections had been in the 300-400 range all week.

Three of the four deaths announced on Monday were women aged 85 to 89 and an elderly man, 96, all with underlying health issues and admitted to hospital from old people’s homes.

The health ministry said that 123 patients are being treated in state hospitals, of whom 16 are critical. This is up from 120 patients and 15 in critical a day earlier. Some 67 patients are being treated at the Covid-referral clinic at Famagusta General hospital.

The ministry said that 9,951 tests were conducted on Monday – 3,117 using the PCR molecular method, and 6,834 antigen rapid tests.


Some rapid tests show negative

The day’s 349 new cases included 142 PCR confirmations from rapid tests conducted on previous days. Seven more rapid tests were returned with a negative result.

Of the new cases, 119 were diagnosed through contact tracing linked to earlier infections. Four tested positive among 995 passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, with one new infection diagnosed at the Oasis old people’s home in Limassol.

The health ministry said that on Monday a further 212 positive cases were recorded through the rapid tests which will require confirmation by the more accurate PCR method over the next few days.

Of these, 31 were in Limassol, 56 in Larnaca, 89 in Nicosia, 9 in Paphos and 10 in Famagusta.

Two soldiers serving in the National Guard were positive, while 15 of 398 tests commissioned privately, were also positive and will require PCR confirmation.

Cyprus has been under a ‘lighter lockdown’ since Friday morning with all shopping malls, restaurants, bars, cafés, cinemas and theatres having to shut. All other shops close at 7pm and a general curfew has been imposed 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 and vaccines introduced in other markets, mainly Britain, the rest of Europe and Russia. by Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

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