COVID19: Cases spike as Cyprus struggles to contain outbreak

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Cyprus saw a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases to 786 on Saturday and four deaths attributed to COVID-19, while hospitalisations continued to climb.

The Health Ministry said of the four people who died; the youngest was 47 and the oldest 88, all had underlying health issues.

Only one patient, a 71-year-old man, had a vaccine history; he had received the first dose.

Aprils’ death toll has risen to 32, beating March’s figure of 30 deaths, and the to-date figure since the pandemic started is 284.

The average age of COVID-19 deaths has fallen to 78.

And the number of patients admitted to state hospitals stays at 270 compared to 251, of whom 65 are critical, two more than Friday.

Health officials have warned that hospitals are under tremendous pressure, and the 300-capacity level may be breached soon if public health protocols are not kept, and the vaccination programme is not speeded up.

Some 57,138 PCR and rapid antigen tests were conducted on Saturday, which based on the 786 new cases of SARS-CoV-2, generating the highest test positivity rate in weeks at 1.38%, above the ‘low risk’ benchmark of 1.00%.

A total of 55,407 SARS-CoV-2 cases have been recorded in the past 13 months.

Saturday’s new cases comprised of 97 identified through contact tracing inked to earlier infections, three tested positive among 1,571 samples from passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 175 were diagnosed from private labs and hospital tests.

A further 468 were diagnosed from rapid tests, 171 of which were in Nicosia (0.89% positivity rate), 133 in Limassol (0.89%), 82 in Larnaca (1.04%), 46 in Paphos (0.97%) and 20 in Famagusta district (0.60%).

Five tested positive from 230 samples taken from residents and workers at retirement homes; two athletes also tested positive.

Cyprus’ Vaccination Plan will be available for people aged 40 at the beginning of May.

Up until April 16, a total of 207,547 vaccinations were carried out, said the Health Ministry.