COVID19: Record tests as Cyprus prepares to open shops

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A 63-year-old man died of COVID-19 on Saturday while infections remained stable as a record 36,000 tests were carried out as Cyprus prepares to open retail shops in lockdown exit.

The man had underlying health issues and died at Nicosia General hospital taking the pandemic death to 210, while the number of patients is at 112 from 126 earlier in the week.

The number of critical patients is down to 33 from 39 on Wednesday and 17 of them are on a ventilator.

The Health Ministry said a record 36,863 tests were conducted on Saturday after a national programme was launched to screen people gradually returning to work after lockdown measures were eased on Monday.

Retail shops and primary schools open in the next phase next week.

The tests diagnosed 132 new cases of SARS-CoV-2, raising the total to date to 31,644. This was down from the 133 on Friday.

The of positive tests was also a low 0.36%.

Some 37 were traced through contacts of previous infections and 68 were identified from 34,396 antigen rapid tests.

Of these, Limassol continued to take the lion’s share of new cases with 43 at a positive test rate of 0.52%, followed by 16 in Nicosia (0.11% positive rate), 1 in Larnaca (0.02%), 2 in Paphos (0.06%) and 1 in Famagusta district (0.06%).

One case was found from 415 samples taken from passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports.

Nearly 33,000 vaccinated

A total of 32,837 COVID inoculations took place in Cyprus from 27 December to 5 February, according to the Health Ministry.

A total of 22,813 people aged over 80 received the first dose of the vaccine.

The second dose vaccination process is underway for health professionals in the public and private sectors and residents and staff of care homes.

Also, those over 80 are getting their jabs according to the appointment scheme and the Ministry announced that 10,024 have already got their second jab.

The Health Ministry advised the public to make an appointment on the vaccination platform as soon as it opens, and the age criteria is announced.

Until 21 February, a total of 10,058 appointments for the over 80s are available on the platform.

Health Ministry plans to inoculate those over 75 with the first vaccine dose in February.