Cyprus reported a record 941 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest figure since the 907 on December 29 that led, at the time, to harsh lockdown measures.
Despite the authorities struggling to control the virus, the government has no intention to relax restrictions, nor to introduce new measures, for the time being, especially with the Greek Orthodox Easter being celebrated on May 2.
Government spokesman Kyriakos Koushios said that, “at present, there will be no relaxations, but no additional measures either. The situation is constantly reviewed and if necessary, the government will take additional measures.”
Koushios added that President Nicos Anastasiades met with Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou, following the regular briefing every Tuesday with the government’s health advisory team. The conclusions will be discussed at the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, he said.
The health ministry said in its daily Covid bulletin that one person died of COVID-19, a 69-year old man who had received the first dose of the vaccine.
This raised the April death toll to 39 and to 295 since the pandemic started.
However, the number of patients admitted for treatment at state hospitals dropped to 277 from the record 284 on Monday, but the number of critical patients remained unchanged at 68.
With 56,768 PCR and antigen rapid tests conducted on Tuesday, the test positivity rate rose to 1.66%, from 1.38% on Monday and Sunday’s 1.44%.
During the past 13 months, Cyprus has had 58,022 SARS-CoV-2 infections.
The health ministry said that 188 new cases were identified through contact tracing, a number that has been growing in recent days, suggesting that health protocols are not being respected by the public.
Eight coronavirus cases were diagnosed from passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 234 from private lab and hospital tests.
A further 511 positive test results were diagnosed from the national rapid testing programme, down from the 599 the day before.
Of these, 207 were in Nicosia (test positivity rate of 1.37%), 128 in Limassol (1.29%), 77 in Larnaca (1.28%), 27 in Paphos (0.81%) and 13 in Famagusta district (0.62%).
Only one person tested positive from 894 samples from residents and workers at retirement homes, while 11 new cases were diagnosed among 9,111 tests of high school teachers and students.
Third wave underway, need 35% to be vaccinated
Earlier in the day, government advisor Dr Peter Karayiannis, told the Financial Mirror that, “whether we are looking at a third wave, or just an upsurge of the previous wave, the truth of the matter is that we are recording more cases than ever before.”
He said epidemiologists hope the virus will come under control soon, as the health system cannot hold out for much longer.
He said around 30-35% of the population needs to receive both shots of a COVID-19 vaccine to reach safe immunity levels.
Cyprus is currently at less than 10% of those completely vaccinated.
Government spokesman Koushios said that by June, the administration hopes to vaccinate about 65% of the population, but with the first dose.