COVID19: Fewer cases, more patients, after rapid test overhaul

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Cyprus reported one death, a drop in daily coronavirus cases to 277, but an increase in hospitalisations to beyond 300 as the government revised the free rapid testing programme with those unvaccinated having to pay for the test every three days.

The health ministry said that a 52 year old man died of Covid-19 complications, raising the death toll since the pandemic started to 422.

The death toll for July was 43 with the deadliest months on record being December and January, with 76 deaths each, followed by 56 in April and 48 in May.

The average age of all deaths is 77.2 years.

The overhaul of the rapid tests contributed to a drop in the general testing programme, from a record 94,279 PCR and rapid tests, to 23,254.

Sunday’s 277 new daily infections were half the figure from the previous day of 527 which, based on the total test figure generated a benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate of 1.19%, more than double the 0.56% on Saturday.

Hospitalisations continued to rise as the more potent Delta variant takes infects younger people, up from 288 the previous day to 301 on Sunday. Of these, 86 remain critical, four more than the day before.

The Health Ministry said that 89.9% of those admitted in state hospitals had not been vaccinated, down from 91% the previous day.

The total of all SARS-CoV-2 infections during the past 17 months rose to 102,223.

Of the new daily infections, four were identified through contact tracing, 12 passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports tested positive, while 102 were diagnosed from private lab and hospital tests.

A further 159 infections were discovered through the national rapid testing programme, which is now only available free of charge to persons who have been vaccinated, have contracted and recovered from the coronavirus and those justified with serious medical conditions.

Of these 43 were in Nicosia, 26 in Limassol, 16 in Famagusta district, 9 in Larnaca and 6 in Paphos.