Cyprus confirmed two coronavirus deaths on Saturday, and hospitalisations rose as authorities tightened restrictions for travellers from the UK due to the Omicron variant.
The health ministry said an 82-year-old woman and a man aged 75 were the latest victims of the pandemic, raising the death toll since March last year to 619, of which 22 were in December.
New daily cases dipped below 600, to 508 from 695 infections recorded on Friday.
Hospitalisations remained at high levels and increased by six to 177, dangerously close to the bed capacity of 200, with the more serious cases up by two, at 59.
Patient numbers have increased steadily since breaking past the 100-level in mid-November.
Intubated patients increased by one to 21, while 79.67% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated.
Ten patients are 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 reached 144,713.
Testing dropped to 75,844 PCR and antigen rapid tests, about 7,000 less than the day before.
With a drop in tests and daily infections, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate decreased to 0.67%, from 0.84%, below the high-risk threshold of 1%.
A further 212 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 109 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.
New rules were introduced Saturday for passengers arriving from the UK due to the surge of omicron variant cases.
The Health Ministry said all passengers arriving aged 12 and over, irrespective of vaccination coverage or previous infection from COVID, need to stay in self-isolation at their residences or place of staying until their PCR test results come back.
If the test is positive, they must remain in isolation and wait for further instructions from the contact tracing unit.
On their arrival, passengers will be issued five self-test kits in the event their PCR test is negative.
They must self-test for five days, and if positive, they must contact their GP for a referral for a PCR test at public clinics.
If a person does not have a GP in Cyprus, they must contact [email protected]
The message must include name, last name, ID number, Date of birth, district, and a copy of the self-test (picture).
Within 72 hours from their arrival and if their self-test is negative, UK arrivals must undergo a rapid test at a mobile unit of the Health Ministry and send the result at [email protected] via www.eudcc.gov.cy portal.
The rapid test is freely given when the passengers show their boarding pass.
All UK arrivals are advised to be extra vigilant and avoid contact with vulnerable groups in the first few days.
Cyprus has detected 28 cases of the Omicron variant, the vast majority in Limassol.