COVID19: Cyprus cases rise amid fears of Delta variant

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Cyprus had no deaths but saw the daily coronavirus infections spike further beyond 100 for the second day, rising from 122 on Tuesday to 167 on Wednesday, as health officials are worried this could be caused by the Delta variant of the virus.

Cyprus is in a race against time for younger people to get vaccinated as authorities fear the more contagious Indian variant of coronavirus could take hold in the community.

On Wednesday, the Health Ministry called on people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, warning: “It is unlikely that the new variant is not spreading amongst the community.”

The ministry said in its daily Covid bulletin that the death toll since the pandemic started remained unchanged at 378 for the ninth day in a row with an average age of 77. Of these, 14 were in June.

It said that 43 people are being treated for Covid-19 in state hospitals, four less than Tuesday, while the number of critical cases remained unchanged at 19.

The total number of infections during the past 15 months is now at 73,999.

Some 33,413 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted on the day, which based on the 167 new cases of SARS-CoV-2, generated a benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate of 0.50%, up from 0.32% the previous two days, but still below the high-risk threshold of 1.00%.

Of the new cases, 35 infections were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 3 passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports tested positive, while 21 new cases were diagnosed from private lab and hospital tests.

A further 108 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 were diagnosed through the national rapid testing programme, up from 81 the day before.

Famagusta district accounted for 25 new cases, but with the highest test positivity rate of 0.87%, followed by 33 in Nicosia (0.35%), 28 in Limassol (0.43%), 17 in Larnaca (0.42%), and just two in Paphos with the lowest rate of 0.02%.

All 1,032 tests on staff and residents at retirement homes were negative, while only one person tested positive from 498 samples taken from workers in industrial zones.