September got off to a bad start on Wednesday with four coronavirus deaths, one of whom a 41 year old man, following the record toll of 80 in August.
The health ministry said in its daily Covid bulletin that two men aged 41 and 75 and two women, 78 and 83, were the latest victims of the pandemic, raising the death toll since March last year to 507.
At the same time, hospitalisations and new daily infections dropped to 137and 256, respectively, down from 138 and 287 the day before.
Of the hospitalisations, 49 are critical, five less than Tuesday, and 18 remain intubated, down four from the previous day, while 82% of hospital patients are unvaccinated.
A further 16 patients are considered post-Covid, having recovered from the virus, but remain intubated and in a serious state.
The total number of all SARS-CoV-2 infections since the pandemic started 18 months ago rose to 114,131.
Some 44,920 PCR and antigen rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, 6,000 less than the day before.
With a lower number of new infections and tests, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ remained unchanged from the previous day at 0.57% and below the high-risk threshold of 1%.
Of the new cases, 24 were discovered through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, six passengers tested positive in PCR tests at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 67 were diagnosed from private initiative and hospital tests.
A further 105 cases were identified from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 54 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.
Of these, 26 were in Nicosia, 9 in Limassol, 6 in Larnaca, one in the Famagusta region and none in Paphos.
Only one of the 1,038 samples of staff and residents at retirement homes tested negative and five soldiers serving in the National Guard.
All of the 129 random rapid tests on passengers arriving at both airports were negative, as were 82 samples from tourists sponsored by the hoteliers’ association.