COVID19: Near-record 787 cases point to new lockdown

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Cyprus reported a near-record 787 new coronavirus cases on Monday, about 30 more than six months ago that prompted the government at the time to impose a lockdown in order to contain the spread of the virus.

The Health Ministry said in its daily bulletin that one person died of Covid-19, the second person so far in July, as hospitalisations also continued to rise attributed to the Delta strain.

Within two weeks, when daily cases were steadily below 100 and patient numbers at a manageable 30-40, the revival of graduation parties and clubbing by unvaccinated youth and a blitzkrieg in weddings, led to a surge in infections.

A 67 year old woman died at the American Medical Centre after being treated for SARS-CoV-2 and released from Nicosia General hospital following 21 days.


Death toll triples from December

This raised the death tolls since the pandemic started to 380, of whom 254 were men (67%) and 126 women, with an average age of 77.3 years.

Hospitalisations increased from 71 the day before to 88, with 23 in a critical state, four more than on Sunday.

In all, 43,678 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted on the day which, based on the 787 new cases generated a benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate of 1.80%, far above the high-risk level of 1.00%.

New cases leaped to 583 on Saturday (1.26% rate) and dropped marginally to 577 on Sunday (1.21%), before spiking to 787 on Monday, above the 751 reported on December 28. The following day, on December 29, new cases skyrocketed to 907 and prompted the government to impose restrictions that led to a lockdown on January 10.

At the time, the death toll was 117, with record monthly deaths in January and February.

Monday’s new coronavirus cases pushed the total of all infections during the past 16 months to 78,809.

Of the new cases, 28 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, six passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports were positive in PCR tests, and 138 cases were diagnosed from private lab and hospital tests.

A further 615 new cases were diagnosed through the national free rapid testing programme, of which 188 were in Limassol (test positivity rate of 2.17%), followed by 172 in Nicosia (1.23%), 85 in Larnaca (1.69%), 61 in Paphos (1.71%) and 55 in Famagusta district (1.80%).

Of the 705 samples from staff and residents at retirement homes, only one tested positive in Limassol, 11 were diagnosed among 561 samples taken in industrial zones, nine soldiers serving in the National Guard were infected and one passenger was diagnosed from 269 rapid tests at the airports.