Cyprus reported four coronavirus deaths on Saturday, as daily cases dropped but hospitalisations increased 6% to 244 from the previous day.
The death toll rose to 654 after the four latest victims – two men and two women — aged between 63 and 97.
The mean age of those who died is 76.
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.
Saturday’s rate at 3,959 was much lower than the previous day’s 5,244.
January has counted 16 deaths; December was the second deadliest month at 41, with the worst month August 2021 with 80 deaths.
Hospitalisations increased from 230 to 244, as serious cases rose by two to 83.
Throughout December, patient numbers increased steadily to the 170-180 level, with hospital capacity rising to 300 beds.
Intubated patients dropped by two to 26, while 77.05% of hospital patients were reported as unvaccinated.
Also, 19 young patients remain admitted in the Covid ward at Nicosia’s Makarios children’s hospital, one more than the day before.
Eighteen 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 is 201,360.
A total of 152,238 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, over 12,000 more than Friday, as restrictions in public venues forced many to seek a 72-hour rapid test to enter.
A rise in tests saw the benchmark ‘positivity’ rate drop to 2.67% from the previous day’s 3.76%, having skyrocketed to 5.98% on New Year’s day, six times above the high-risk barrier of 1%.
Of the new infections, 153 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections, 72 were passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos airports, and 798 were diagnosed from private initiative, hospital, and GP tests.
A further 1,681 cases were detected from private rapid tests at labs and pharmacies, and 1,252 were positive from the free national testing programme, available only to those vaccinated or recovered from earlier infections.