Cyprus reported 283 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, ending a week of daily infections exceeding 200, instead of dropping to below or near 100 from the end of January.
The health ministry said that 88 patients are being treated for COVID-19, while the number of critical cases remains steady at 24.
Cyprus also did not report any death for the fourth consecutive day, ending February with 30 and the death toll since the pandemic started remaining unchanged at 231.
December and January were the deadliest months on record with 76 each. Of these, 154 were men (67%) and 77 women, with an average age of 79 years.
A record 45,231 tests were conducted on Sunday, using both the molecular PCR method and the antigen rapid tests.
With a positive test rate of 0.63%, some 283 people were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2, raising the total of all infections during the past 12 months to 34,707. On Saturday there were 243, down from 272 on Friday.
Of these, 104 were identified through primary contact tracing, while 161 were positive from 43,599 rapid tests.
Limassol continues to be the epicentre of new infections, accounting for 94 positive cases, followed by 42 in Nicosia, 14 in Larnaca, 10 in Paphos and one in Famagusta. All 1,243 tests of soldiers serving in the National Guard were negative for COVID-19.
Gymnasiums to open a week later
Meanwhile, the ministry of education and the health ministry issued a joint statement saying that all gymnasium classes would restart on March 16, a week later than the initial date of March 8. Monday March 15 is a public holiday.
They said that due to the worsening epidemiological situation, all students and teachers must secure a negative rapid test result on a weekly basis, prompting the teachers’ union to protest.
They said parents and guardians are urged to give their consent for regular weekly tests, starting from March 8, while testing teams will be visiting selected schools for on-the-spot tests.
The same rules apply to private schools, as well as tutorial centres and institutes. Where school children cannot produce a negative test result or cannot be physically present in class, they will continue with online learning.
The education ministry concluded that whereas masks are not mandatory at elementary schools, they are urged to wear them in particular the upper class pupils.