Cyprus reported one death from COVID-19 on Sunday, with the patient admissions rising to 292, while fewer tests were conducted for the second day in a row due to the Greek Orthodox Easter, diagnosing just 58 new cases.
The health ministry said that a 56 year old man, who had not been vaccinated, died at Nicosia General hospital, the second death in May so far, raising the death toll since the pandemic started to 314.
However, the number of patient admissions increased to 292 from 274 on Saturday and 275 on Friday, while the critical cases also rose to 72, from 71 the day before and 70 on Friday.
The average age of admitted patients in the six state hospitals remains unchanged at 58.6 years.
A total of 6,158 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted, the majority of which or 5,008 were tests on passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports.
The free national programme of rapid tests, estimated at 35,000 to 40,000 daily was suspended because of Easter Sunday. Widespread testing will resume on Monday.
A total of 31,677 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted on Easter Saturday, almost 16,000 less than Friday as Cyprus prepared for a sombre Greek Orthodox Easter during Lockdown III.
However, the public ignored the health protocols and gathered in large numbers in front of churches to receive the Holy Light late on Saturday night, the impact of which and severity of infections will be felt in seven days’ time, according to earlier statements by Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou.
The health ministry said in its daily Covid-report that 58 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 were diagnosed from the limited number of tests, less than a tenth of the daily coronavirus cases identified throughout the past week.
A lower than normal 463 new cases were recorded on Saturday and 676 on Friday, due to a smaller test total.
Of the 58 new cases, four tested positive among the airport arrivals, 53 were diagnosed from private lab and hospital tests, and one case was identified from the 46 private sector rapid tests at clinical labs and pharmacies.
This raised the total of all infections during the past 14 months to 66,430.
Minister: Herd immunity by end-June
Health minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Saturday that Cyprus hopes to achieve herd immunity by the end of June with about 60-70% of the population inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine.
He said that 218,000 people or about 30% of the population has received the first dose of the vaccines.
“By the end of the current lockdown on May 10, we expect 270,000 people to have received the first dose of the vaccine. Ideal immunity will be achieved three weeks from that dose,” Ioannou said.
Most of the restrictions will be lifted once about 70% of the population has been vaccinated, Ioannou said, adding that some measures may stay for longer, possibly the use of facial masks.