COVID19: Up again, down again, new cases below 900

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Cyprus saw new coronavirus cases drop to below 900 again, having shot up beyond this level twice to record highs this week, with 889 on Friday.

This was below the 927 on Thursday and the record 941 on Tuesday, prompting the government to impose a two-week lockdown, while pushing for quicker vaccinations and to younger groups, as part of the effort to control the spread of the virus.

When 907 COVID-19 infections were diagnosed on December 29, the government announced a second lockdown a few days later with most of the retail sector, offices, schools and government services closed for weeks on end.

The health ministry said that one person died, an 85 year old man who had not been vaccinated.

This raised the death toll for April to 41 and 297 to date.

Since the pandemic started, 197 men have died (66%) and 100 women, with the average age being 78 years.

The health ministry’s daily Covid bulletin also said that the number of patients admitted for treatment at state hospitals rose to 297, and dropped to 70 in critical state, from 296 and 74, respectively, the day before.

However, as more elderly people are being vaccinated and younger people tend to ignore health protocols, the average age of patients has dropped to 58.6 years.

With the hospitalisations nearing the health system’s critical 300-bed capacity, the state hospitals’ authority has activated the next stage in its services to accommodate 400 patients.

A record 66,634 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted on Friday, with the 889 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 producing a test positivity rate of 1.33%, dropping significantly from 1.67% on Thursday, Wednesday’s 1.59% and Tuesday’s 1.66%.

The total number of all infections during the past 13 months reached 60,681.

Friday’s new coronavirus cases included 128 identified from contact tracing, one passenger tested positive among 1,374 arrivals at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 201 from private lab and hospital tests. A further 559 were diagnosed from private and national rapid tests.

Of these, 197 were in Nicosia (test positivity rate of 1.11%), Limassol had 136 (1.23%), 92 in Larnaca (1.53%), 29 in Paphos (0.95%) and 12 in Famagusta district (0.50%).

Some 18 people tested positive among 9,022 samples from workplaces and industrial zones, while 40 students and teachers in high schools were also diagnosed with COVID-19 from 8,041 tests.