Cyprus reported two deaths from COVID-19, an increase in hospital admissions and a slight drop in new coronavirus cases to 529 on Wednesday, as the government is not expected to further relax lockdown measures any time soon.
The national vaccination programme also hit a snag early in the day when the reservations portal for some 19,000 inoculations crashed at 8am as Cypriots made a beeline for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, discarding AstraZeneca amid global concerns. The portal was reinstated at 3pm.
The health ministry said that a 42 year old man with a serious heart condition who had not been vaccinated and an 83 year old woman, with underlying heath issues, died, raising the death toll for April to ten and 266 since the pandemic started.
The elderly woman had received the first of two Covid vaccine doses.
The ministry also said that the number of patients admitted to state hospitals for coronavirus treatment increased to 210, the same as on Sunday, having dropped to 196 and 205 since then. Of these, 48 are critical, up two from Tuesday.
The 529 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 were diagnosed from 47,181 PCR and antigen rapid tests, resulting in a test positivity rate of 1.12%, almost unchanged from the 1.13% the day before, but still higher than Monday’s 1.03%, and 0.73% on Sunday.
The to-date infections in the past 13 months rose to 49,366.
Wednesday’s data of Covid-positive test results included 132 from contact tracing, two passengers among 515 samples taken among arrivals at Larnaca and Paphos airports, 110 from private labs and hospitals and 285 from the free national rapid testing programme.
Limassol resumed its lead position with most positive rapid tests at 86, followed by Nicosia’s 79, 53 in Larnaca, 22 in Paphos and 17 in Famagusta district.
Out of 10,093 rapid tests at schools, 23 were positive for Covid-19.
No plans to relax measures
Meanwhile, the government has no plans to relax or even tighten COVID-19 restrictions over the coming weeks, with any decision expected a few days before Cypriots celebrate Orthodox Easter on May 2.
On Wednesday, President Nicos Anastasiades said the cabinet would decide on 24 April, having met earlier in the day with scientists advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak.
“For the moment, epidemiologists are not voicing grave concerns, but this does not mean that we are not going to monitor the situation daily.
“What we are interested in is to see there is at least a stabilisation when it comes to hospital patient admissions for the health system to be able to cope,” Anastasiades told reporters.
Government advisor Dr Peter Karayiannis told Omega TV the next couple of weeks are critical for the pandemic in Cyprus.
He called on the public to remain patient until the vaccination programme reaches more people.
Karayiannis said the recent increase in new COVID-19 cases has yet to put excess pressure on the health system.
“If the epidemiological data remains as it is today, this will not take long to happen”.