COVID19: Hospital cases stabilise at 86 as Limassol remains concern

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Cyprus reported one death from COVID-19 on Monday, 113 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 and a steady number of 86 patients being treated for the coronavirus, as authorities are worried about infections remaining at dangerously high levels in Limassol.

Two weeks after the second lockdown measures were relaxed, allowing retailers, shopping malls, as well as hair and nail salons to reopen, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said the deteriorating situation in Limassol district has scientists concerned.

He noted that data covering the past two weeks from the contact tracing team show that while the spread of the virus in other districts is under control, the situation in Limassol is slipping away despite the lockdown.

Many cases have been detected at specific workplaces, such as pharmaceutical companies, food processing plants, food retailers, and other retail businesses, suggesting that health and safety protocols at workplaces are being flouted.

At the same time, the recent warm weather allowed thousands to head for the promenade, supposedly to exercise, but protocols and distance rules are not being adhered to.

The health ministry said that Monday’s death was an 86 year old woman, with underlying health issues. This raised the death toll since the pandemic started to 222.

February has so far accounted for 23 deaths, far from December and January which were the worst months on record, with 76 each.

At the same time, the ministry said that 86 patients continue to receive treatment in three state hospitals, with 25 in a critical state. This down marginally from the 87 patients on Sunday, of whom 28 were critical.

In all, some 35,164 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted on Monday, with 113 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 diagnosed, raising the total infections from last March to 32,626.

About 34 of the new cases were discovered through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, while two samples among 803 passengers tested upon arrival at Larnca and Paphos airports were positive.

Of the 32,572 rapid tests, 64 were diagnosed as positive with COVID-19, the majority of which, or 44, were in Limassol, followed by Larnaca (9), Nicosia (6), Famagusta (2) and Paphos (1).

The free national rapid testing programme included 219 samples from old people’s homes, 412 workers at Strovolos industrial area and 1,012 soldiers serving in the National Guard, all of which had negative results.

One sample from 276 tests in the police force and one from 505 students and at special schools tested positive.

 

402,000 tested in February

Meanwhile, the health ministry also said that 40% of the 900,000 population has undergone a coronavirus rapid test since the beginning of February.

Between February 1 to 14, more than 402,000 people have undergone a free rapid test, boosted earlier this month when the government obligated all those returning to work after the January 10 lockdown to get tested before returning to their posts.

All active businesses are obliged to ensure that 20% of their staff present in the workplace are tested on a weekly basis.

Earlier on Monday, the ministry also said that thousands of domestic helpers and self-employed, such as electricians and plumbers, must also undergo a weekly examination, and be able to present it if asked by their clients.