COVID19: Two deaths as new cases remain above 900

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Cyprus reported two coronavirus deaths on Friday and an increase in hospitalisations to 168, while daily cases remained above 900, dropping mildly to 917 and lowering the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate below 1.0%.

The health ministry said in its daily Covid bulletin that two elderly men, both 91, were the latest victims of the pandemic, raising the death toll to 627, of whom 30 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.

New daily cases have been on the up all week. Having nearly doubled to 835 on Monday, they dipped to 806 on Tuesday, soared again to 883 on Wednesday, edging closer to 1,000 on Thursday with 978 and dropping again to 917 on Friday.

Hospitalisations increased by six to 168, closing in on the bed capacity of 200, with the more serious cases decreasing by four, at 62.

Patient numbers have increased steadily since breaking past the 100-level in mid-November.

The number of intubated patients dropped by three to 22, while 76% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated, down marginally from 78%.

Fourteen 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 149,580.

Testing reached near record levels of 112,532 PCR and antigen rapid tests, about 19,000 more than the day before, as a SafePass is mandatory for Christmas outings and visits.

There will be no testing on Christmas Day and will resume on Boxing Day, with limited labs available.

With an increase in tests and drop in daily infections to 917, some 61 less than the day before, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate dropped to 0.81%, having broken the high-risk barrier and risen to 1.05% on Thursday.


Increase among passengers

Of the new infections, 58 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, up from 44 the day before, and 237 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital, and GP tests.

The vast majority of positive cases at the airports were returnees, mainly from the U.K. suggesting it is Cypriot university students flying home for the holidays. A high rate that includes Omicron cases.

A further 467 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 155 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.

One of the 493 samples from retirement homes was positive, while all 141 samples from restricted institutions and 151 from the National Guard tested negative.