COVID19: Cases drop to half in a week, four deaths

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Cyprus reported four coronavirus deaths on Friday, amid a sense of optimism that the pandemic is getting under control, leading to lockdown measures being lifted from Monday.

The four who died were all men, aged 67 to 76, of whom only one had been vaccinated with the first dose.

This raised the death toll for May to 120 and to 332 since the pandemic started.

The health ministry said in its daily Covid bulletin that 237 patients are currently admitted for treatment in state hospitals, ten less than the day before, and safely below the critical 300-bed capacity limit.

Of these, 59 are in a critical state, four less than Thursday. The average age of patients remains unchanged at 58.6 years.

Amid an increasing rate of vaccinations, the number of new COVID-19 infections dropped to half in a week, to 324 from 676 last Friday.

Based on the 56,420 PCR and antigen rapid tests, the test positivity rate is also reduced, dropping to 0.57%, from 1.09% the day before.

In all, Cyprus has reported 68,766 infections of SARS-CoV-2 during the past 14 months.

The new cases included 46 identified through contact tracing, linked to earlier known infections, one passenger tested positive among 2,183 passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 70 were diagnosed from private lab and hospital tests.

A further 207 new cases were diagnose through the national rapid test programme, with the testing figures expected to increase as schools reopen on Monday, making it obligatory for teachers and high school students to test on a weekly basis.

With the introduction of the ‘coronapass’ as of Monday, a negative rapid test valid for 72 hours is required to enter many establishments, forcing many more to be tested regularly.

Of the new cases, 69 were in Nicosia (0.41% test positivity rate), 55 in Limassol (0.47%), 31 in Larnaca (0.53%), 15 in Famagusta district (0.56%) and 12 in Paphos (0.40%).

Only one tested positive among 520 staff and residents at retirement homes, while 3,487 tests on students resulted in just two new cases and 13 had COVID-19 among 5,552 tests at large public organisations and businesses conducted throughout the week.