COVID19: Cyprus cases starting to subside, one death

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Cyprus saw a drop in coronavirus infections to 460 on Thursday, as the country prepares to exit the current lockdown on Monday based on improving health data and an increase in vaccinations.

The relaxation of measures will allow restaurants, bars and cafés to reopen, initially with limited patrons, while hotels and casinos will also let Cypriot customers back, as all students also return to class preparing for their end of year exams.

High school students and their teachers need a negative rapid test result to be allowed back in class, which will place an added strain on the testing centres over the weekend. They will have to repeat the test on a weekly basis.

The SMS permit will be abandoned, but will be replaced with a ‘coronapass’, initially proof of vaccination or negative rapid test, which will later evolve into a mobile application.

The health ministry said that one person died, a 70 year old man who had not been vaccinated, raising the death toll for May to 16 and to 328 since the pandemic started.

The number of patients admitted in state hospitals for COVID-19 treatment increased by one to 247, but the critical cases were fewer by four, at 63.

In all, 42,232 PCR and rapid tests were conducted on Thursday, which, based on the 460 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 generated a test positivity rate of 1.09%, slightly above the benchmark 1.00% and higher than Wednesday’s rate of 0.98%.

Cyprus has had 68,442 coronavirus infections during the last 14 months.

Of the new cases, 71 were identified through rapid tests linked to earlier infections, seven tested positive among 2,426 passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 134 were diagnosed from private lab and hospital tests.

A further 248 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed from the national rapid testing programme, of which 93 were in Nicosia (test positivity rate of 0.70%), 61 in Limassol (0.69%), 36 in Larnaca (0.74%), 16 in Paphos (0.47%), and 11 in Famagusta (0.47%).

Two samples from 813 residents and staff at retirement homes tested positive for COVID-19, as did three samples from 982 workers in industrial zones.