Cyprus reported no coronavirus deaths for the second day in a row on Friday, as the daily cases shot up again, to 5,244, with hospitalisations remaining at a high level of 230.
An unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases, powered by the Omicron variant, has seen over 100,000 people go into isolation, with daily cases exceeding 5,000 four times during the past week.
From a staggering 5,048 cases on New Year’s Eve, new infections dropped to 2,332 on Saturday, rose to 3,538 on Sunday, continued to 5,024 on Monday and to a new record 5,457 on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, it dropped to 5,202 and further to 3,777 on Thursday.
The health ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the death toll since the pandemic remained unchanged at 650.
January has so far counted 12 deaths, December was the second deadliest month at 41, with the worst month on record being last August with 80 deaths.
Hospitalisations dropped slightly to 230, having surged the previous day to 235 from 209, after breaching the 200-bed safety margin for Covid-19 patients on Sunday. The serious cases increased by eight to 81.
Patient numbers increased steadily to the 170-180 level throughout December since breaking past the 100-level in mid-November.
28 are intubated
The number of intubated patients dropped by one to 28, while 78% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated. Also, 16 young patients remain admitted in the Covid ward of the Makarios children’s hospital, six less from the day before.
Eighteen patients are still considered post-Covid, having recovered from the virus, but remain intubated and in a serious state, three more than Thursday.
The total number of SARS-CoV-2 infections since March 2020 reached 197,401.
A total 139,334 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, about 62,000 more than Thursday, as restrictions in public venues forced many to seek a 72-hour rapid test to enter.
On a rise in tests and in positive cases, 1,467 more than Thursday, the benchmark ‘test positivity’ rate dropped to 3.76% from the previous day’s 4.89%, having skyrocketed to 5.98% on New Year’s day, six times above the high-risk barrier of 1.0%.
Of the new infections, 138 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 55 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 818 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital, and GP tests.
A further 3,011 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 1,222 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.
Fourteen of the 993 samples in retirement homes tested positive, with 18 positive cases among 390 tests in restricted institutions, while all 409 samples from special schools tested negative.