Cyprus reported two COVID-19 deaths and saw a mild drop in new coronavirus cases on Sunday to 524, but hospital admissions continued to increase, with officials concerned that hospitals are under extreme pressure and may be unable to cope.
News reports suggest that due to the worsening situation, the next Cabinet meeting on Tuesday may consider an all-out lockdown that could be in place for about a month.
At the same time, the junior ministry for technology and innovation is expected to announce on Monday the national platform that will be used to coordinate the vaccination programme, more than a week after the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech jabs arrived on the island.
The two who died were a man, aged 68 with no underlying health issues who was being treated at the Nicosia General hospital intensive care ward, and a 76 year old woman, a patient at the Covid-reference clinic of Famagusta General hospital.
This raised the death toll since the pandemic started to 131, six of whom in January. December was the worst month since March with 76 deaths.
To date, 87 men have died and 44 were women, with an average age of 80 years.
The health ministry said that the number of patients being treated for SARS-CoV-2 continues to rise and reached an all-time high of 182 on Sunday, two more from the day before and 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 71, one less from the day before, with health ministry officials saying the initial phase of the national health system anticipates 200 admissions.
In all, 45 patients are in a critical state, down from 54 the day before and a significant drop from the four previous days.
New case numbers drop
The health ministry said that a total of 12,051 tests were conducted on Sunday, using both the PCR molecular method and the less-accurate antigen rapid test.
Some 529 new SARS-CoV-2 cases were diagnosed, raising the total number of infections to date to 23,974. Saturday’s total was 627.
Of these, 132 were identified through contact tracing, with just three positive cases from 472 test samples taken from passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports.
Of the 325 cases diagnosed through the rapid tests, 110 were traced in Nicosia, 93 in Limassol, 81 in Larnaca, 29 in Famagusta and ten in Paphos.
Two more were traced from 34 tests in old people’s homes in Limassol.