Cyprus reported a record 1,081 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, up from the previous peak of 993 last Thursday, prompting the state to open walk-in clinics to boost vaccinations.
Two deaths were announced after a week-long lull, with the spike in new cases attributed to the deadly Delta variant of the virus.
The Health Ministry said it will be operating walk-in vaccination centres across the island from Thursday in another bid to boost its decelerating COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
People will now be able to get a COVID-19 jab without having to book an online appointment; an identification document is needed.
The measure follows tightening measures for unvaccinated people and incentivising younger people to get jabbed.
The vast majority of the 159 hospital patients are unvaccinated, with 90% of positive cases involving unvaccinated people, and an equal rate among the under-40s.
Two men, aged 77 and 86, died on Tuesday, the first after seven days. This raised the death toll for July to four and to 382 since the pandemic started.
The Health Ministry said in its Covid bulletin that hospitalisations continued to rise to 159 patients admitted for treatment, up from 153 on Monday and 139 on Sunday, with the critical cases also rising to 41, from 40 the day before.
Some 62,898 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted Tuesday, 3,000 more than the previous day.
Based on the 1081 new cases, the benchmark national ‘test positivity’ rate leaped to 1.72%, up from to 1.39% on Monday.
The benchmark high-risk level is 1.00%.
Tuesday’s new SARS-CoV-2 cases pushed the total of infections for the past 16 months to 86,185.
Of the new cases, 77 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 11 passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports tested positive, and 230 were diagnosed through private lab and hospital tests.
A further 763 were diagnosed through the national rapid test programme, up from 699 the day before, with Limassol remaining in the lead with most cases and the highest positivity rate – 239 and 1.80%, respectively.
Nicosia was next with 215 (1.19%), Larnaca with 77 (1.06%), Famagusta district with 70 (1.19%) and 66 in Paphos (0.93%).
All 1,044 samples taken from staff and residents at retirement homes tested negative.