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COVID19: Cases touch 300, vaccinations top 100,000

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New COVID-19 cases rose again Saturday, touching nearly 300 after a recent drop as the authorities went on a testing and vaccination blitz to contain a surge after the lockdown was eased.

Saturday’s 298 cases were detected from above-average 45,369 tests with a positive test rate of 0.66%.

On Friday, there a fewer 273 COVID-19 cases recorded from a record 57,926 tests with a lower positive rate of 0.47%.

The Health Ministry said that no deaths were reported for the third day in a row, with the death toll at 232 since the pandemic started.

February had 30 deaths attributed directly to COVID-19, while December and January were the worst months on record, with 76 deaths each.

However, the number of patients admitted to the state hospitals for treatment rose to 126, up from Friday’s 111, while the critical cases dropped from 27 to 25, 11 of whom are on a ventilator.

The 298 new coronavirus infections increased the total for the past 12 months to 36,575.

Some 44 were identified through contact tracing of known infections, 9 were passenger among 715 samples taken from arrivals at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 24 from private tests.

However, 201 were from 41,784 government free rapid tests, which has been ramped up over the weekend as teacher and students return for their weekly mandatory testing.

Again, the largest number of infections was once again in Limassol, with 131 new cases with the highest positive test rate of 1.08%, followed by Nicosia’s 29 cases (test rate 0.18%), Larnaca 19 (0.31%), Paphos 13 (0.38%) and Famagusta 7 (0.37%).

100,000 vaccinations

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou announced on Saturday that Cyprus is close to reaching 100,000 vaccinations as the vaccine rollout accelerates.

President Nicos Anastasiades welcomed the news, saying that as the shield of protection grows bigger, so does hope for people to return to their daily routine with safety.

In a Twitter message, President Anastasiades thanked the scientists and the people implementing the “largest inoculation program in the Republic of Cyprus’ history.”

Ioannou said vaccines are saving hundreds of lives and prevent thousands from contracting the deadly virus.

He also thanked the public’s willingness to get vaccinated and nurses for their tireless contribution.

“The vaccination program is accelerating every week. There is a possibility that we will exceed our current schedule.”

According to the Ministry of Health, 98,000 vaccinations were administered by Friday afternoon, and this was surpassed on Saturday.