COVID19: New cases spiral again to 565, vaccines for over 57s

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Antigen rapid test program Nicosia, Cyprus

Cyprus reported 565 new coronavirus cases on Monday, significantly more than Sunday’s 431, but fewer than last Friday’s three-month high of 705.

One person died, a 74 year old man with underlying health issues, who had received his first of two Covid vaccinations.

This raised the death toll since the pandemic started to 262, the sixth in April. Some 25 people died in March and 30 in April, far from the December and January joint record of 76 deaths each.

However, the health ministry said that the number of patients admitted to six hospitals treating cases of COVID-19 dropped to 196, less than Sunday’s 210 and Saturday’s 199. Of these, 47 were reported as critical, down from Sunday’s 48 but higher than the 45 over the two previous days.

The new cases of SARS-CoV-2 took the 13-month total to 48,278. With 54,652 PCR and antigen rapid tests on the day, Monday’s test positivity rate rose to 1.03%, significantly higher than the 0.73% rate the day before.

Some 120 new cases were diagnosed from contact tracing, linked to earlier infections, while five of 2,778 passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports tested positive.

A further 80 were identified from private lab and hospital tests, while 360 positive cases resulted from private and the national rapid testing programme.

Of these, Nicosia had the highest total or the second day in a row, with 109, ahead of Limassol’s 105, 46 in Larnaca, 30 in Paphos and 11 in Famagusta district.

Only one sample out of 1,092 from staff and residents at retirement homes tested positive, while 34 were positive from 10,541 rapid tests at schools, as students, pupils and teachers returned to their classes on Friday, reinstating the mandatory weekly negative testing.

 

Vaccinations for over 61s could lead to 57s as well

Meanwhile, Cyprus’ vaccination rollout could reach people aged 57 by the end of the week, as health authorities plan to open the online inoculation platform for people aged 61 and over on Wednesday.

On Monday, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said that Cyprus would receive 60,000 vaccine doses this week, enabling those aged 57 and 58 to book vaccine appointments from Friday or Saturday.

Also, slots for more vulnerable groups will be opening over the coming weeks.

Ioannou briefed the House Finance Committee on Monday, where the government had tabled a request for a supplementary budget of €250 mln to face the pandemic’s challenges.

He said the supplementary budget would set aside €60 mln for additional spending as part of the national coronavirus strategy.

It will purchase more vaccines, fund testing, track, and trace services, reinforce the epidemiological surveillance unit, public health clinics and purchase services from private clinics.

Health authorities are currently focusing on vaccinating people who take immunosuppressive drugs after booking appointments last week for those with diabetes and severe obesity.

As of Saturday, 161,526 people have received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 46,866 having received both jabs.

So far, Cyprus has immunised around 18% of the population with at least one COVID-19 shot, but only 5% have received both does.