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COVID19: Limassol cases putting Cyprus at risk

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Limassol’s surge in COVID-19 cases keeps Cyprus well above safety limits of transmission, preventing the lifting of lockdown measures quicker, said the Health Ministry on Friday.  

Although Cyprus’ epidemiological data has improved, the Health Ministry’s surveillance report shows Limassol remains a grave concern for scientists.

The 14-day cumulative diagnosis rate for Cyprus dropped near the safety limit of 150 per 100,000 inhabitants, at 164.3 (down from 173); Limassol is still off-the-chart on 390.7, up from 336.3.

All other districts recorded a significant drop in figures, with Famagusta having the best 14-day cumulative diagnosis rate of 45 cases for every 100,000 (down from 104.3), followed by Paphos with 46.1 (down from 63.9).

Larnaca’s rate is 83.4, down from 121.5 per 100,000, and Nicosia stands at 83.4, down from 106.8.

“As derived from the epidemiological data, Limassol is still heavily burdened, keeping the cumulative diagnosis rate for the whole country above safety levels. 

“It appears that if the burden in Limassol were less, the epidemiological picture in Cyprus would have been better, and the country could fall into the “green” category (according to ECDC indicators). 

“This would contribute significantly to the faster lifting of more restrictive measures,” said the Health Ministry. 

It added that to detect as many cases as possible and contain the virus’s spread, test stations for rapid tests in Limassol have increased. 

From Saturday, the tracking of cases will extend to covering secondary contacts of known cases (contacts of contacts).  

The Ministry also released data on COVID-19 deaths from the outbreak in March 2020 until February 16 2021.

From the 227 deaths recorded, 86 (31%) took place in January, with December coming second with 85. 

The upward trend began in November with 35 deaths, a stark contrast from the minimal numbers of the summer when no more than four deaths recorded per month.

Nicosia and Limassol have fared the worst, both in terms of deaths (84 and 65) and cases recorded. 

Some 37% of those dying from coronavirus were from Nicosia, and 29% resided in Limassol.

Larnaca was third with 43 deaths, while Paphos and Famagusta accounted for 18 and 11 deaths, respectively.

And 67% of deaths were men, 33% women with the median age of all deaths 81 (IQR: 73-87years).

Up to February 17, 91people were still in the hospital. 

The median age of patients still in hospital (n = 91) is 66 (IQR: 58-75years), 62.6% (n = 57) are males. 

Of the 18 COVID cases in intensive care units (ICU), 13 are on a ventilator. The median age of current ICU patients is 70 (IQR: 60-76), and 13 (72.2%) are males. Twelve (66.7%) patients currently in ICU have pre-existing conditions.