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COVID19: Lockdown, vaccination drive reduces infection rate

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The two-week Easter lockdown, combined with an aggressive vaccination rollout, contained the COVID-19 third wave, said the Health Ministry on Friday.

All COVID indicators have improved in The Health Ministry’s weekly analysis of the 14-day data until May 11.

Cyprus’ average test positivity rate has dropped from 1.2% to just 0.2% compared to the last report, while daily cases fell by 50% in the week following Easter.

Compared to last week’s report, about a third fewer cases were recorded (6,121 compared to 9,186).

A lower 14-day cumulative diagnosis rate across the island was recorded, which now stands at 689.3 per 100,000, from 1,034 per 100,000.

Cyprus, despite the improvement, is still in the European Centre for Disease Control’s (ECDC) ‘dark red’ danger zone, as its 14-day cumulative COVID-19 diagnosis rate exceeds the 500 benchmark.

Furthermore, the decrease in cases has also pushed the transmission rate to 0.7.

In Nicosia, the 14-day cumulative rate was 675.8, down from 1,070.7/100,000, Limassol’s was 683.9 from 930.3, Larnaca 667.8 from 1,084.6, and Paphos was 507.3 down from 717/100,000. Famagusta’s rate was 768.9 from 918.2/100,000.

Among all cases diagnosed in the last 14 days, 2,341 (38.3%) were reported in Nicosia, 1,698 (27.7%) in Limassol, 995 (16.3%) in Larnaca, 484 (7.9%) in Paphos, 376 (6.1%) in Famagusta, and 227(3.7%) were reported either in the British bases or had a residence abroad.

Those aged over 60 accounted for 12.1 per cent of the cases, while the broad age group of 20-59 had 68.3 per cent of infections. Those aged 0-19 accounted for 19.6 per cent.

The Health Ministry said it was particularly happy with a drop in the positivity rate of tests carried out in nursing homes, which dropped to 0.3% after a sharp increase during 12-25 April.

Over the last 14 days, a record 97,313 PCR and 698,772 rapid antigen tests were performed (10,958.7 RT PCR and 78,690.5 rapid antigen tests per 100,000 population).

Some 342 COVID-19 associated deaths were reported in the Republic of Cyprus until May 12.

It translates into a case fatality risk of 0.5% and associated mortality of 38.5 per 100,000 population.

As of May 11, two-thirds of those who died from COVID-19 were men, with 226 from the 342 in total, while Limassol and Nicosia had over a third of the recorded deaths, each 36.6% and 34.8%, respectively.

The average age of hospital patients admitted to ICUs was 67 and mainly male, at 66%.

As of May 12, there were 38 people in ICU, of which 68.4% had underlying health conditions.

The average age of people currently hospitalised is 62, with 55% reporting a comorbidity.