COVID19: New cases spike again to 705, patients up

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Cyprus saw the number of new coronavirus cases rise again to 705 on Friday, a number not seen since the 704 infections on December 30, a day after the record number prompted the government to push for a second lockdown.

Throughout the week, the number of new SARS-CoV-2 cases ranged from 300 to 440, with the government warning of complacency as the patients admitted in six state hospitals remained close to the critical 200.

On Friday, this rose to 193, having dropped by a few per day from the recent high of 196 last Sunday.

The health ministry said that 45 patients remained critical, down one from Thursday but above Wednesday’s 43.

An elderly woman, aged 88, with underlying health issues and no vaccination, died at Limassol General hospital, following Thursday’s four deaths. March recorded a total of 25 deaths and February had 30, while December and January were the worst months on record with 76 deaths each.

The death toll since the pandemic started has risen to 261.

A record 59,144 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted on Friday, as high school students from the Gymnasium classes and Limassol’s elementary pupils were allowed back in class, and now require weekly negative Covid tests.

Positive test rate at 1.19%

The 705 new cases raised the national test positivity rate to above the ‘safe’ benchmark of 1.00% and hit 1.19%, with officials having second doubts whether relaxing the lockdown measures was a hastened decision.

The lighter measures introduced from Thursday are minor adjustments with the most significant changes being the abolition of quarantine for airline passengers arriving from the U.K., as long as they have been vaccinated and Cypriot residents allowed to travel and return, with a prior vaccination here.

The total of all infections during the past 13 months has now reached 46,878.

Most of the new cases diagnosed on Friday resulted from contact tracing linked to previous infections, with 317 positive tests, followed by 6 passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports who tests positive from among 1,870 samples.

Some 55 resulted from private lab and hospital tests, while 327 were positive results from rapid tests.

Of these, 117 were in Limassol, 111 in Nicosia, 34 in Larnaca, 15 in Paphos and 7 in Famagusta district.

Only one sample from 592 taken at retirement homes tested positive, while 9,455 tests at schools diagnosed 31 new cases.

A further 5,732 tests on location at businesses and large public organisations produced 5 new coronavirus cases.