COVID19: Cases touch 400, hospital patients rise, zero deaths

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New coronavirus cases and COVID-19 hospital patients were on the rise again Saturday, a day after the government announced an easing of more lockdown measures from next week.

Daily infections reached 398, up from the 383 on Friday, and the number of patients in hospital for COVID-19 reached 201 from 195, testing the Cyprus health system’s bed capacity.

The Health Ministry said no COVID-19 deaths were recorded, keeping the death toll for the month at 238 to date.

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

New SARS-CoV-2 cases have dropped from 431 on Thursday, but total cases have now reached 39,277.

Of 201 patients being treated, critical cases were 34, 18 of whom are on a ventilator.

The worrying data follows the government’s decision to allow the hospitality sector to reopen from March 16 and shorten the night curfew from 9 pm to 11 pm while keeping middle schools shut until the end of the month.

Officials are also concerned by the growing number of infections being diagnosed in elementary schools, while the epicentre of the current virus is Limassol.

There were fewer tests conducted on Saturday (43,940) from the higher-than-average 57,337 tests conducted on Friday, using the PCR molecular method and the less accurate antigen rapid tests.

Of these, 40,708 were the free state-sponsored rapid tests and 3,232 PCR.

And Saturday’s test positivity rate of 0.91% was higher than the previous day’s 0.67%.

Some 147 of the new SARS-CoV-2 cases diagnosed on Saturday were through contact tracing. Two were passengers who tested positive among 794 samples from arrivals at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 35 were from private tests.

A further 195 new cases were diagnosed from rapid tests, of which 107 were in Limassol with a positivity rate of 0.87%, 43 in Nicosia (0.28%), 23 in Larnaca (0.38%), 14 in Paphos (0.36%) and 8 in Famagusta (0.45%).