COVID19: Cases continue to soar on eve of new decisions

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Cyprus reported 431 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, remaining above 400 for the third day in a row, as the government ponders relaxing lockdown measures at its cabinet meeting on Friday.

Wednesday saw 415 new cases of SARS-CoV-2, five less than Tuesday, and above last Thursday’s 384, having risen from the 100-200 range throughout most of February.

Daily infections peaked at 907 on December 29, prompting the government to impose a second lockdown on January 10.

The cabinet postponed its decision, initially slated for Wednesday, as the government’s scientific advisors assess the situation in light of the unabated spread of the virus.

Elementary school pupils and upper high school students were allowed back in class a month ago, while shops were also allowed to reopen. The government is undecided whether to allow the hospitality sector to open or even allow lower high school students in the gymnasiums to return.

Students and teachers are obliged to test every week.

An elderly woman died due to COVID-19 on Thursday, but officials are more concerned by the rapid rise of patients admitted in state hospitals, doubling in a week to 185.

The health ministry said that 165 patients were admitted as of Wednesday from 154 on Tuesday, while 36 of the patients are critical, up from 30 the day before.

Cyprus counts 200 beds in Covid wards and state broadcaster CyBC said that 70% of all patients hailed from Limassol. Unable to cope with the surge in admissions, patients from Limassol have been moved to other hospitals.

The health ministry said that an 81 year old woman with underlying health issues died at Limassol General hospital, raising the death toll since the pandemic started to 236.  So far, 156 (66%) were men and 80 women, with an average age of 79.

December and January were the worst months on record, with 76 deaths each, while 30 people died in February.


9,093 tests in schools

In all, 43,177 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted on Thursday, including 9,093 at 35 schools where six new cases were diagnosed.

Total infections during the past 12 months reached 38,496.

Thursday’s tests identified 128 new cases through contact tracing of known infections, two were passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, 73 were diagnosed from tests in private and public hospitals, and 228 were from rapid tests.

Limassol once again accounted for more than half of all new daily infections with 142 positive test results, followed by Nicosia (37), Larnaca (9), Paphos (7) and four in Famagusta district.

Only one sample taken from 698 in retirement homes tested positive.