COVID19: New cases up, two deaths, fewer patients, vaccines slow

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Cyprus reported two coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, with an increase in new daily cases to 760, and a drop in hospitalisations, as the country entered the second day of its two-week lockdown in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

The health ministry said in its daily Covid bulletin that an 82 year old woman died, having received only the first dose of the vaccine and an 86 year old who had not been vaccinated.

This raised the death toll for April to 47 and 303 to date, with an average age of 78 years.

Some 292 patients are currently hospitalised and being treated for COVID-19, of whom 73 are in a critical state, down from 300 and 78, respectively, the day before.

The health ministry said that the average age of all admitted patients is 58.6 years, with three of the youngest patients in their 20s.

A total of 42,877 PCR and rapid tests were conducted that diagnosed 760 new cases of SARS-CoV-2, up from Monday’s 611 and close to Sunday’s 773 infections.

The drop in test numbers by about 10,000 due to the closure of schools and no testing of students because of the Greek Orthodox Easter on May 2, saw the test positivity rate shoot up to 1.77%, significantly higher than Monday’s 1.21%.

The total of all new coronavirus infections since the pandemic started has risen to 63,720.

Of the new cases, 160 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier known infections, four tested positive among 1,435 samples taken from passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 187 were diagnosed from private lab and hospital tests.

A further 309 were identified from the national rapid testing programme of which 146 were in Nicosia (test positivity rate of 1.09%), 96 in Limassol (1.08%), 75 in Larnaca (1.45%), 34 in Paphos (1.06%) and 16 in Famagusta district (0.83%).


Vaccinations at slow rate

Meanwhile, the health ministry said it was shortening the wait period for the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine from 12 to 8 weeks, in an effort to speed up the national inoculation programme which is moving at an extremely slow pace.

So far only 23.2% of the population has been vaccinated with at least one dose and 8.3% have received both jabs.

Cyprus has inoculated 84% of people aged over 80 with the first dose, while in the 70-79 age group, 80% have been vaccinated.

Cyprus’ vaccination rollout progressed on Tuesday with thousands of appointments made available to those aged 39-42.