Cyprus reported one coronavirus death on Wednesday, an increase in new cases to 883 and the number of hospitalisations remaining high at 172, with tests exceeding 100,000 as people prepare for Christmas outings.
The health ministry said in its daily Covid bulletin that a 65 year old man was the latest victim of the pandemic, raising the death toll to 624, of which 27 were in December, up from 12 in November.
After a record 80 deaths in August, the number dropped to 40 in September and 20 in October.
Having nearly doubled to 835 on Monday, daily cases dipped to 806 on Tuesday and soared again to 883.
Hospitalisations remain at high levels and decreased by four to 172, dangerously close to the bed capacity of 200, with the more serious cases increasing by five at 64.
Patient numbers have increased steadily since breaking past the 100-level in mid-November.
The number of intubated patients dipped by one to 26, while 77% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated, down marginally from 79%.
Fifteen 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 reached 147,685.
Testing totalled 103,603 PCR and antigen rapid tests, about 16,000 more than the day before, with 20,100 tests in schools.
Of the 8,753 samples in primary schools, 28 tested positive, while 30 were reported as positive among 11,457 in high schools.
Test rate dips to 0.85%
With an increase in both tests and daily infections, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate dipped to 0.85%, from 0.92%, narrowly missing the high-risk threshold of 1%.
Of the new infections, 151 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 49 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 168 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital, and GP tests.
A further 352 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 163 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.
All of the 1,401 samples from retirement homes were negative, as were 635 tests in special schools, while one tested positive from 186 samples at restricted institutions.