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COVID19: Daily cases reach new high, patient numbers leap to 181

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Cyprus reported a new record in coronavirus cases for the third day in a row, rising to 1,152 on Thursday from 1,120 the previous day, with a spike in hospitalisations to 181 prompting the cancellation of routine operations.

Hospitals have been instructed to free up beds to accommodate a rise in COVID-19 patients and postpone non-emergency operations.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas on Thursday issued a decree to all hospitals in the public and private sector to postpone all routine operations; private hospitals have been told to limit their capacity to 70% and ICUs to 60%.

No deaths were recorded maintaining the toll for July at five and 383 since the pandemic started.

The Health Ministry said in its Covid bulletin that hospitalisations continued to rise to 181 patients admitted for treatment, up from 165 on Wednesday, with the critical cases spiking from 40 to 48.

Some 67,205 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted Thursday, 5,000 more than the previous day.

Based on the 1,152 new cases and a large test figure, the benchmark national ‘test positivity’ rate dropped slightly to 1.71%, from 1.79% the day before.

The benchmark high-risk level is 1.00%.

Thursday’s new SARS-CoV-2 cases pushed the total of infections for the past 16 months to 88,457.

Of the new cases, 81 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, five passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports tested positive, and 328 were diagnosed through private lab and hospital tests.

A further 738 were diagnosed through the national rapid test programme, 25 more than the day before, with Limassol remaining in the lead with most cases and the highest positivity rate – 235 and 1.83%, respectively.

Nicosia was next with 181 (0.87%), Larnaca with 123 (1.56%), Famagusta district with 70 (1.25%) and 61 in Paphos (0.96%).

Three tested positive among 699 samples taken from staff and residents at retirement homes, and five soldiers among 910 tested in the National Guard.