COVID19: Cases stubbornly above 200, experts to advise president

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New coronavirus cases remained above 200 on Sunday, topping 216, having surged to a six-week high of 226 the day before, as health authorities are pondering re-introducing new measures to control the virus.

With the daily infection rate exceeding the 100-barrier throughout the past week, blamed mainly on the more potent Indian ‘Delta’ variant, the government’s virus advisory team is expected to meet President Anastasiades on Monday to discuss the worrying rise.

The government is concerned about increasing daily COVID-19 cases among younger people with a more active social life, while evidence suggests that infected Cypriots are not declaring their close contacts.

The Health Ministry attributed the rise to people no longer abiding by COVID protocols due to pandemic fatigue, while more than half of the cases in recent days involved people under 40.

Reported infections have skyrocketed, having remained below 100 for several weeks, as restrictions were lifted and the public ignored protocols with clusters being traced to school graduation parties and wedding receptions.

The Health Ministry said that there were no deaths attributed to Covid-19, making it the thirteenth day in a row.

The death toll since the pandemic started remained unchanged at 378 with an average age of 77. Of these, 14 were in June.

 

Hospitalisations jump to 50

In its daily Covid bulletin, the ministry said Sunday’s hospitalisation rate also worsened with 50 people being treated for Covid-19 in state hospitals, up seven from Saturday. The number of critical cases remained unchanged at 18.

The total number of infections during the past 15 months is now at 74,785.

Some 38,787 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted on Sunday, 3,000 less than the previous day which, based on the 216 new cases of SARS-CoV-2, generated a benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate of 0.56%, higher than Saturday’s 0.54%, and moving toward the high-risk threshold of 1.00%.

Of the new cases, five new infections were identified through contact tracing, five passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports tested positive, while 29 new cases were diagnosed from private labs and hospital tests.

A further 177 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 were diagnosed through the national rapid testing programme, up 40 from Saturday.

Once again, the Famagusta district accounted for the highest test positivity rate of 1.53% and 46 cases. Nicosia had the most cases with 62 (0.48%), followed by 32 in Larnaca (0.75%), 31 in Limassol (0.38%), and just 2 in Paphos with the lowest rate of 0.06%.