COVID19: Cyprus hospitals reach limit, 2 deaths, lockdown possible

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Two people died of COVID-19 on Saturday and the health ministry reported 627 new coronavirus cases, but officials are more concerned that hospitals are under extreme pressure to cope with a record 180 admissions.

News reports suggest that with the worsening situation, the next Cabinet meeting on Tuesday may consider an all-out lockdown that could be in place for about a month.

The two deaths were an 82-year-old man and a 91 year old woman, four in just two days in January, raising the death toll to date to 129. December was the worst month since the pandemic started with 76 deaths.

The health ministry said that the number of patients being treated for SARS-CoV-2 is at an all-time high of 180, up from 168 on New Year’s day and 160 the day before.

The number of patients admitted at the Covid-reference clinic at Famagusta General hospital was 72, two more from the day before, with health ministry officials saying the initial phase of the national health system anticipates 200 admissions.

In all, 54 patients are in a critical state, up from 48 on New Year’s day and 46 on New Year’s eve.

The health ministry daily report said that testing resumed to normal levels after the holiday break with 12,039 tests conducted on Saturday, using both the PCR molecular method and the antigen rapid tests.

The 627 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 raised the total number of infections to date to 23,445.

Some 135 of these were diagnosed through contact tracing, and two were passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports.


Quarantine order extended for UK arrivals

On Saturday, the health ministry also extended an earlier decision that obliges all arrivals from the United Kingdom to stay in quarantine in local hotels for seven days, paid for by the government.

Of 173 people in quarantine who had stayed in local hotels who were re-tested on the seventh day in order to secure a release, five were positive for COVID-19 and will remain in quarantine for a further seven days.

Of the national free rapid test programme, Nicosia once again was in the lead with 121 infections, followed by Limassol (117), Larnaca (101), Famagusta (36) and Paphos (25). A further nine positive cases were diagnosed in old people’s homes in Nicosia.