Cyprus hospitals were bursting at the seams with coronavirus patients on Sunday, as the number of patients being treated for COVID-19 exceeded the 200 capacity for the second day.
The health ministry said that an elderly man died, 208 patients had been admitted and 339 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 were reported, as Cyprus went into a second lockdown until the end of the month after recent restrictions failed to control the virus and to protect the health service.
People will only be allowed out twice a day for essential travel or exercise, while all non-vital businesses will close. Unlike the first lockdown in March, the airports and ports will remain open.
The total number of infections since March is now 27,350.
Saturday saw six deaths, 209 patients in hospitals and 337 new coronavirus cases.
The latest death, a 75 year old resident of the Agros old people’s home who was admitted to Limassol General hospital, raised the death toll for January to 25 and 148 since the pandemic started. December remains the worst month to date with 76 deaths.
Of the 208 patients admitted to state hospitals, 73 are being treated at the Covid-reference clinic at Famagusta General, while a quarter, or 55 patients, are deemed as ‘critical’.
A spokesman for the hospitals’ administration OKYPY said on Saturday that a wing has been cleared at Larnaca General hospital so that it, too, can accommodate coronavirus patients, together with the dedicated clinic at Famagusta, and the general hospitals in Nicosia and Limassol.
In all, 8,778 tests were carried out on Sunday, using both the PCR molecular method and the less-accurate antigen rapid tests, of which the state has ordered a further 400,000 packs.
Of the 170 who tested positive from rapid tests, 62 were in Limassol, 50 in Larnaca, 44 in Nicosia, 6 in Paphos and none in Famagusta district. A further eight tested positive in old people’s homes in Nicosia and Larnaca.
Vaccinations continue, 6,035 inoculated
Meanwhile, the health ministry said that registration for the vaccination programme will resume on Monday, allowing for 3,960 more to secure an appointment through the online portal.
Eligible for vaccination are those who are 80 years or older, who will receive their jabs between January 18 and 23.
The previous registration for 3,000 appointments on Tuesday was exhausted within an hour.
The ministry said that since the inoculation programme started on December 27, with priority given to front-line health workers, seniors over 80 and vulnerable people over 75, some 6,035 have already been vaccinated.
It added that the planning has already started for the repeat jabs as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two doses.
From the 38 initially announced by health officials, the vaccinations will take place at the old Nicosia General nospital and the Latsia Outpatients Health Centre, the old Limassol General hospital, Troodos Hospital, the old Larnaca General hospital, the Famagusta General hospital, the Paphos General hospital and the Polis Chrysochous hospital.
For support, the public can call 17000 and 1474, while the family GP may also arrange for an appointment.