COVID19: New cases rise again, 2 more deaths

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Cyprus saw a rise of new coronavirus cases to 121 on Wednesday, after a drastic drop the previous day, with two more COVID-19 deaths and the number of patients dropping marginally to 81.

The health ministry said that two men, aged 79 and 80, both with underlying health issues, died at Nicosia General hospital. This raised the death toll since the pandemic started to 227, with February so far accounting for 26 deaths.

December and January were the deadliest months on record with 76 each. Of these, 153 were men (67%) and 74 women, with an average age of 79 years.

Some 25,414 PCR and rapid tests were conducted on Wednesday, diagnosing 121 new cases of SARS-CoV-2, up from 82 on Tuesday and 113 on Monday.

The total number of infections since last March is now 32,828.

The health ministry added that 81 patients are currently being treated in the three state hospitals of Famagusta, Nicosia and Limassol, of whom 21 are critical.

This is a mild improvement from the two previous days when Cyprus had 86 patients and 87 on Sunday, when the number of critical patients was 28.

The molecular PCR tests and the antigen rapid tests diagnosed 121 new coronavirus cases, of which 34 were identified through contact tracing of earlier infections and 66 were from the free national rapid test programme.

Limassol was once again in the lead with 35 infections, followed by 12 in Nicosia, 11 in Larnaca and 2 in Paphos.

Only one sample from among 1,317 test of residents and staff at old people’s homes tested positive, as well as four cases from 421 tests at the Ypsonas industrial zone, while 576 tests at the Dhali and Limassol industrial zones were all negative.

A soldier tested positive from among 226 tests within the National Guard.


Tighter grip at airports

Cyprus is keeping a tighter grip on airport arrivals in a bid to prevent a third COVID wave by increasing checks and shortening the list of countries deemed as safe for travel.

After safeguarding its health system against the second COVID-19 wave peaking at 907 daily cases in late December, authorities have revised its safe travel list.

There are only three countries in categories A from where you don’t need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before arriving – Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Eight countries are in category B from where you need to provide a negative test: EU members Greece, Germany and Finland; Schengen area members Iceland, and Norway; and, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), South Korea and Thailand.

Visitors arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports from category A and B countries have to self-isolate for three days and undertake a PCR test for coronavirus upon ending their quarantine.

Other destinations have longer quarantine rules.

Arrivals from Category B countries need proof they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of boarding their flight to Cyprus, self-isolate for three days and repeat the PCR before exiting their quarantine.

Cypriots, residents, or those who can prove that testing is not available in their country of origin have the option of paying for a test (€50) at the airport upon arrival.

All passengers, irrespective of category must apply online through the  CyprusFlightPass portal within 24 hours of departure.

UK arrivals must undergo a laboratory test upon their arrival at Larnaca or Paphos airports and they are transported to designated hotels – free of charge – for mandatory 7-day isolation.

After that they undergo another PCR test, and if negative remain in self-isolation for a further three days.