Cyprus reported a drop in new daily coronavirus cases to 953 on Friday, some 200 less than the day before and after three days of breaching the 1,000-level, as the government launched a major incentive scheme to encourage younger people to get vaccinated.
Thursday saw a record 1,152 infections, following the 1081 and 1120 on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
In a bid to encourage teenagers and 18 to 30 year olds to get on board the Covid-19 vaccination train, the government has joined forces with private companies offering incentives, ranging from airline tickets and football season tickets to purchase vouchers for gadgets.
At the same time, new measures announced by the government include a mandatory Safe Pass for Cypriots to go about their daily lives to shop, dine or work.
Announcing measures to stem a tide of infections driven by the Delta variant of coronavirus, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said Cypriots will need a Safe Pass to go “anywhere but the beach and pharmacy”.
The safe pass is issued online to those who have recovered from the virus, have been vaccinated or have a negative test valid for o more than 72 hours. A mobile app version is struggling to get onto the market, despite an EU-wide edition freely available from the start of the month.
The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin for the day that hospitalisations also increased to 190 on Friday, up from 181 the day before, with 44 patients considered critical, four less than the previous day. It added that nearly 90% of all patients being treated for Covid-19 have not been vaccinated.
Patient numbers have been rising steadily all week, climbing from 139 on Sunday mand steadily approaching the critical level of 200 patients, the bed capacity figure in state hospitals deemed as manageable.
90 year old woman dies
An elderly woman, aged 90, died at Famagusta hospital’s Covid-reference clinic, raising the death toll for July to six and 384 since the pandemic started.
To date, 256 of the victims were men (67%) and 128 women, with an average age of 77.2 years.
Some 73,011 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted Friday, 6,000 more than the previous day.
Based on the 953 new cases and a large test figure, the benchmark national ‘test positivity’ rate dropped significantly to 1.31%, from 1.71% the day before.
The benchmark high-risk level is 1.00%.
Friday’s new SARS-CoV-2 cases pushed the total of infections for the past 16 months to 89.410.
Of the new cases, 83 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 13 passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports were positive in PCR tests, and 145 were diagnosed through private lab and hospital tests, less than half of Thursday’s figures.
A further 712 were diagnosed through the national rapid test programme, 26 less than the day before, with Nicosia taking the lead with most cases, at 214, but a low test positivity rate of 0.88%, below the benchmark 1.00%.
Limassol was next with 185 new cases and 1.29%, followed by 149 in Larnaca (1.29%), 52 in Famagusta district (1.15%) and 50 in Paphos with the lowest 0.79%.
All 544 samples from staff and residents at retirement homes tested negative, as did 194 random rapid test checks at the airports among passengers arriving from safe destinations.