July got off to a bad start with 473 new coronavirus cases reported on Thursday, three more than the previous surge on April 11, while hospitalisations in Cyprus rose again to 59 and the government called for younger people to vaccinate.
Virologist Dr Peter Karayiannis said the jump in cases could only mean the numbers will increase in the coming days, as the outbreak is building momentum.
“I believe there are many young people who may not have been tested even though they know they were in close contact with a case and may even have symptoms,” said Karayiannis.
“There are virtually no restrictions at the moment, while few checks are carried out at places where young people gather,” said Karayiannis.
He argued that more checks need to be carried out in bars and clubs, as those are where clusters originate.
“If we do not convince the youth to get vaccinated, then we will not see the number of daily cases dropping any time soon.”
Some 70% of those under 40 have not had a COVID jab, while Cyprus has vaccinated 64.6% of the adult population with at least one jab and 50.2% are fully vaccinated.
Patient numbers up again
The Health Ministry said that there were no deaths attributed to Covid-19, making it the seventeenth day in a row. The death toll since the pandemic started remained unchanged at 378 with an average age of 77.
In its daily Covid bulletin, the ministry said the hospitalisation rate rose from 54 to 59, the same as on Tuesday, with the number of critical cases down by two from 20 to 18.
The total number of infections during the past 16 months is now at 76,333.
Based on the 37,450 PCR and antigen rapid test and the 473 new cases of SARS-CoV-2, up from 429 the day before, the benchmark national ‘test positivity’ rate jumped beyond the high-risk threshold of 1.00% to 1.26%, up from 1.18% on Wednesday.
Of the new cases, 45 infections were identified through contact tracing, down from 45 the previous day, five passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports tested positive, while 83 new cases were diagnosed from private labs and hospital tests.
A further 340 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 were diagnosed through the national rapid testing programme, up from 317 the day before.
Nicosia took the lead with 116 new cases and a ‘high risk’ test positivity rate dropping slightly to 0.94%. Next was Limassol with 97 new cases, but the highest test positivity rate of 1.59%, up from 1.46% the day before.
However, the highest rate of 1.62% was recorded in Famagusta district with 44 cases, Larnaca had 49 (1.36%) and Paphos with just eight and the lowest rate of 0.26%.
All 464 tests of staff and residents at retirement homes were negative, as were 761 tests at industrial zones, and only two soldiers serving in the National Guard was diagnosed with Covid-19.