Cyprus reported one coronavirus death on Saturday, a decrease in hospitalisations to 157 and a significantly lower number of tests due to the Christmas holiday, resulting in fewer new daily cases of 268.
A 76 year old man was the latest victim of the pandemic, raising the death toll to 628, of whom 31 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 had 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 dropped by eleven to 157, with the more serious cases increasing by one, at 63.
Patient numbers have increased steadily since breaking past the 100-level in mid-November.
The number of intubated patients rose by two to 24, while 76% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated, down marginally from 78%.
Thirteen 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 149,848.
The health ministry said in its daily Covid bulletin that no public rapid tests were conducted. They will resume on Sunday.
Testing dropped from near record levels of 112,532 PCR and antigen rapid tests to 16,231, as a SafePass is mandatory for holiday outings and visits.
With a distortion in daily data due to a significant decrease in tests and daily infections to 268 from 917, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate soared past the high-risk barrier of 1.0% to 1.65% from 0.81%.
Of the new infections, 53 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 89 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 126 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies.