COVID19: 2 deaths, fewer patients, cases pass 70,000 mark

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Cyprus reported two deaths, a drop in patient hospitalisations to 189 and an increase in new infections to 390 on Tuesday, breaching the 70,000 mark, as the country steams ahead with its vaccination programme.

A senior health official said the vaccination rollout will have surpassed the 400,000 milestone by Wednesday, helped by a recent uptake in AstraZeneca shots.

“More than 200 GPs have come on board, submitting large orders for AstraZeneca jabs. We have received orders for 20,000 doses, while 4,000 people have already been vaccinated by their GP,” said the acting head of the pharmaceutical services, Dr Olga Kalakouta.

GPs are given AstraZeneca jabs exclusively due to the vaccine’s simple storage requirements.

Whereas Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna jabs need to be stored at -75֯ C and -25֯ C, AstraZeneca can be stored in a normal refrigerator for vaccines.

To date 284,264 people, or 38.4% of the adult population, have received the first jab of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, while 87,166 people have completed their vaccination (11.8%).

Wednesday will see people aged 25-26 able to book a vaccination appointment.

The two people who died were both male, 62 and 77 years old, raising the death toll to 27 for May and 339 since the pandemic started.


Patients fewer than 200

The health ministry added that the number of patients admitted for treatment dropped below the 200 mark to 189, from 207 the day before, while critical cases were also reduced, down from 64 to 57.

With most of the Lockdown III restrictions lifted on Monday, including the reopening of businesses and students returning to schools, testing remained at high levels for the fourth consecutive day, with 65,548 PCR and antigen rapid tests.

Based on the 390 new cases of SARS-CoV-2, up from Monday’s 276, the benchmark test positivity rate rose to 0.59%, but still below the risk level of 1.00%.

The total number of infections breached the 70,000 mark, topping 70,098 coronavirus cases during the past 14 months.

Some 114 new cases were identified through contact tracing, 121 were diagnosed from private lab and hospital tests and a further 152 tested positive from the national rapid testing programme.

Of these, 44 were in Limassol (test positivity rate 0.31%), 30 in Larnaca (0.36%), 27 in Nicosia (0.12%), 10 in Famagusta district (0.32%) and 5 in Paphos (0.09%).

Two residents in retirement homes tested positive among 412 samples, and two from 881 workers tested at industrial zones.

For the first time in a while, no positive cases were recorded among arriving passengers at Larnaca and Paphos airports as Cypris revised its travel protocols, with visitors carrying proof of vaccination completion or a negative PCR test in the last 72 hours, exempted from testing upon arrival.