COVID19: Infection rate rockets in New Year

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Cyprus reported an alarming coronavirus infection rate of nearly 6% on New Year’s Day, as cases dropped on lower tests, but hospitalisations rose to 187, and there were no deaths.

Cyprus could face a fourth lockdown COVID-19 cases reach record highs fuelled by the more transmissible Omicron variant.

The Health Ministry said in its Saturday Covid bulletin there were no deaths with the toll since the pandemic remaining at 638.

After five consecutive daily highs, Saturday saw a drop in cases on fewer tests during the holiday period.

From a staggering 5,048 cases on New Year’s Eve, new infections dropped to 2,332 on Saturday.

Hospitalisations rose by seven to 187, with serious cases up three at 82.

Patient numbers have increased steadily since breaking past the 100-level in mid-November, raising fears of reaching the national bed capacity of 200.

The number of intubated patients also increased from 28 to 32, while 85.03% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated.

Some 16 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 169,159.

A lower 38,977 PCR and rapid tests were conducted on Saturday, 130,000 fewer than Friday when people needed a negative result to be allowed into clubs and venues hosting New Year celebrations.

On fewer tests, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate skyrocketed to an unprecedented 5.98% from 2.98%, six times above the high-risk barrier of 1.0%.

Of the new infections, 57 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 409 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital, and GP tests.

A further 1,008 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 858 (466 were in Nicosia) were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.