COVID19: Unvaccinated warned as cases drop, one death

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President Nicos Anastasiades warned on Saturday over possible restrictions for the unvaccinated, as Cyprus reported fewer daily cases (255) and one death as hospitalisations rose.

On whether the government will take more restrictive measures in the wake of rising COVID infections, President Anastasiades said a two to three-week grace period would be given to allow unvaccinated Cypriots to receive their first, second or booster shots.

This is a first decision that sends a strong message “before taking stricter measures because we are left with no choice…after that the measures will be tightened.”

“In order to avoid a total lockdown, some people should be excluded, no matter how much we respect their views.”

Anastasiades pointed to examples in Greece, Austria and France.

“We have no choice if we don’t want to drive companies into bankruptcy due to the stubbornness of some people.

“They should, at last, realise that the time has come to understand that individuals also have a social responsibility.”

Minister of Health Michael Hadjipantelas said the only answer to a total lockdown is vaccination of the wider population.

“One of the reasons the virus still exists is that some people have not opted for vaccinations.

“We may not go to a lockdown for the unvaccinated, but there could be some restrictions to their movement,” he said.

The comments came before the Health Ministry daily COVID-19 bulletin, which reported one coronavirus while new cases were significantly down from Friday’s spiked to 475, a figure not seen since August.

A 71-year-old woman was the latest victim of the pandemic that has claimed 590 lives, five of which were in November.

Hospitalisations were up by seven to 92, of whom 35 are serious, one less than Friday.

At 15, intubated patients remained the same, as 60.87% of all hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated.

Three patients are still considered post-Covid, having recovered from the virus, but remain intubated and in a serious state.

The total number of SARS-CoV-2 infections since March 2020 rose to 129,880.

The number of PCR and antigen rapid tests conducted during the past 24 hours totalled 50,980, almost 10,000 fewer than the previous day.

Due to fewer tests, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate fell to 0.50% from 0.77%, further from the high-risk threshold of 1%.

Of the new cases, five were passengers arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 66 were diagnosed from private initiative and hospital tests.

A further 122 cases were identified from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 62 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.