COVID19: Cyprus drowning in second wave

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Cyprus continues to be swamped by the second wave of COVID-19 as it eagerly awaits the arrival of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine later this month.

December has been the deadliest month since the pandemic began in March and two more deaths announced on Saturday from COVID-19 took the total to 89.

Nearly half the death toll has occurred in December which has also seen the most cases.

The Health Ministry said a man, aged 81 and a woman aged 83, raised the month’s total to 40.

The 81- year-old man with an aggravated medical history was being treated at Nicosia General Hospital. The woman, with underlying health issues, died at Limassol General.

The average of those who have died from COVID-19 is 78, 66% (58) have been men.

In all, 115 patients are currently being treated for coronavirus at state hospitals, of whom 22 are in a critical condition and 11 are on a ventilator.

Officials said 10,304 tests were conducted on Saturday – 4,323 using the more accurate PCR molecular method and 5,981 antigen rapid tests, that produce results in up to 30 minutes, may have a 3-5% margin of error and thus require PCR confirmation.

The Health Ministry said that the 419 new SARS-CoV-2 cases included 275 positive results diagnosed from PCR tests and 144 confirmations of rapid tests from previous days.

Of the new rapid tests on Saturday, 215 were positive and will require PCR confirmation.

From the nearly 6,000 rapid tests across Cyprus, Larnaca had the highest positivity rate of cases found per test taken at 5.44% followed by Limassol with 4.72% and Nicosia 2.75%.

Larnaca accounted for 90 cases from 1,653 rapid tests, followed by Nicosia with 48 from 1,747 test, then Limassol had 44 cases from 932 tests, Famagusta 9 (1,013) and Paphos 8 (310).

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou Cyprus joined the EU’s “vaccination days” programme on December 27, earlier than the initially planned January date.

President Nicos Anastasiades will be the first to be vaccinated to encourage others to join the vaccine rollout.

Cyprus took delivery Saturday of a pair of medical freezers that will store the first batch of coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech.