After Cyprus hit a record-high 952 new coronavirus cases, health authorities urged unvaccinated people to get a COVID-19 jab to contain the fourth wave of mass infections.
On Thursday, the Health Ministry expressed concern over the spread of the Delta variant, noting that nine out of ten people who have contracted the virus in recent weeks were not vaccinated.
“It is necessary to take action to protect the health system,” the ministry warned over the increase in hospitalisations.
On Wednesday, there were 93 patients treated for Covid in state hospitals, of whom 27 are in serious condition. Ten have been intubated.
In the past two weeks, the test positivity rate – 2.16% on Wednesday – and the transmission rate have spiked, pushing the rate of hospital admissions up.
The ministry is concerned that 91% of recent cases are either not vaccinated or haven’t completed their vaccination.
“According to data collected from hospitals, nine out of ten people who develop more serious symptoms have not been vaccinated”.
The ministry said the potent Delta variant drives the new outbreak “affecting mainly people who have not been adequately shielded by vaccination”.
“The Delta variant causes more serious morbidity and increased transmission among the young population who are more socially activity.”
It said infection clusters had been traced to places where large gatherings occur, such as bars, clubs, and social events.
“The ministry will be intensifying attempts to increase vaccination coverage to achieve the desired level of immunity in the community as soon as possible”.
The government reintroduced the Safe Pass for outdoor facilities and abolished free testing next month to encourage more people to get jabbed.
Things will get tougher for unvaccinated people as they can not attend football matches or visit the cinema or theatre from July 21.
So far, 65.6% of the eligible population have received a vaccine shot, while 53.9% are fully vaccinated, the ministry said.
“Another 49,500 people have booked appointments for vaccination in the upcoming weeks,” said the ministry.
The online vaccination portal is now catering to all people aged 16 and over.
“Citizens are urged to come forward for their vaccinations, protecting themselves and their loved ones, while contributing to the collective effort to protect Public Health.”
Cyprus has reported 80,588 COVID cases and 380 deaths.
More than 5,000 new cases have come in the last ten days.