COVID19: Cases drop, patients peak on eve of Lockdown II

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Cyprus reported two coronavirus deaths and a somewhat lower 427 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, but the number of patients admitted in hospitals continued to rise, peaking at 196 and a handful short of the health system’s capacity.

The doggedly high number of infections and the inability to bring the virus under control has prompted the government to proceed with a new lockdown, to be announced on Friday and to remain in place until the end of January.

Cyprus is set to reintroduce another lockdown with approval via text message needed to leave the home after December became the deadliest month with a death toll of 76.

According to news reports, the measures will be similar to the one introduced in March, when all non-essential businesses closed down with people only allowed to leave their homes twice a day for shopping or exercise.

Essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations and possibly the construction sector will remain open, while remote learning for schools will be reintroduced.

Thursday’s two deaths, counting 15 so far in January and 140 to date, included a 79-year-old woman with underlying health issues, as well as a 63 year old man with no previous health issues who died at home.

The number of patients admitted to the hospitals in all towns rose to 196 from 187 on Wednesday, including 70 at the Covid-reference clinic at Famagusta General. As with the day before, 49 of the patients remain in a critical state.

 

Test samples rise to 11,576

A total 11,576 tests were conducted on Thursday, and 427 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 were diagnosed by the PCR molecular method and the less-accurate antigen rapid tests, down from 573 a day earlier. The total for all infections since the pandemic started is now 26,208.

Most of the positive rapid test results were discovered in Limassol (101), Nicosia (64), Larnaca (51), Paphos (25) and Famagusta district (9).

Eleven new cases were diagnosed in old people’s homes in Nicosia and Larnaca, and two soldiers serving in the National Guard tested positive.

For the first time in a while, all 517 tests on passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports were negative, while 40 people who had arrived from the UK, where a new high-risk strain was discovered and were in quarantine at local hotels, were also negative for coronavirus on the seventh day of their isolation.

They will now be allowed to go home, but need to remain in self-isolation for at least three more days.