Cyprus reported two coronavirus deaths on Monday, with a stable number of hospitalisations but a rapid increase in new daily infections to 189, as the arrival of the Delta-plus variant was confirmed.
The first two cases of the more contagious Delta+ variant of COVID-19 have been detected, the Health Ministry said earlier on Monday.
Believed to be 10%-15% more transmissible, the Delta Plus mutation, an offshoot of the Delta variant, has scientists on their toes across the globe.
The two cases were detected at the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology of the University of Cyprus after sequencing 279 samples from people who tested positive in September and October.
The health ministry said in its daily Covid report that the latest victims of the virus were both men, aged 49 and 82, raising the death toll since the pandemic started to 570, of whom 16 died in October.
After a record 80 deaths in August, the number dropped to 40 in September, with ten days of no Covid-related deaths. So far, October has also seen ten days of no Covid-related deaths in Cyprus.
Of the 59 patients admitted to state hospitals for treatment, down by four, 20 remain in serious condition, one less than the previous day.
Meanwhile, seven patients remain intubated, one less from the previous day and 56% of hospital patients are reported as unvaccinated.
Another three patients are still 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 March 2020 rose to 123,546.
The number of PCR and antigen rapid tests conducted during the past 24 hours increased to 60,998, nearly 23,000 more than Monday.
With testing resuming in schools, some 11,632 were conducted in high schools, of whom two were positive, while all of the 3,367 tests in primary schools were negative.
With an increase in tests and in new infections to 189, almost double Sunday’s 89, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rose to 0.31% from Saturday’s 0.23%, well within the high-risk threshold of 1%.
Of the new cases, 26 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, six were passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 34 were diagnosed from private initiative and hospital tests.
A further 93 cases were identified from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 30 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.
All 1,187 tests in retirement homes were negative for Covid-19, as well as 228 random rapid tests on passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports and 21 tests on guests staying in hotels, while two persons were positive among 204 tests in restricted institutions.