COVID19: Three deaths, fewer cases amid relaxations

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Cyprus reported three coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, with new cases dropping to 2,646, while hospitalisations increased to 181, of whom 43 were critical, three more than Monday.

Despite the rate of daily infections remaining above 2,000, and encouraged by a decrease in COVID-19 patients in hospitals, the government decided to relax measures, including a ban on unvaccinated people, prohibiting them from social events.

After two months, unvaccinated people will be allowed entry to hospitality venues and social events such as weddings, christenings, hospitality, and sports venues, with a 24-hour negative rapid test.

At the same time, Cyprus will waive a requirement for vaccinated passengers to present a PCR or rapid test before boarding a plane for the island from Monday, while all travel restrictions for the fully jabbed will be lifted on March 1, in time for the new tourist season.

The Health Ministry said in its Covid bulletin that the latest victims were a man and a woman, bth aged 66, as well as a 79 year old man, raising the February death toll to 45 and 791 since March 2020.

January was the deadliest month with 104, overtaking the previous record of 80 deaths last August.

Intubated patients increased by one to 13, while 70% of hospitalised COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated.

Some 31 patients are still considered post-Covid, unchanged from Monday, having recovered from the virus, but remain intubated and in a serious state.

The total number of SARS-CoV-2 infections since March 2020 has risen to 295,686.

30,000 fewer tests

A total of 104,708 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, 30,000 fewer than the day before as testing continued in primary and secondary schools.

Of the 20,638 tests in elementary schools, 151 were positive, while 105 tested positive among 12,225 in high schools. A further 82 new cases were discovered among 5,386 samples from the ‘test to stay’ programme.

The decrease in the number of tests as well as new cases from 2,646, saw the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ rise from 2.18% to 2.53%, more than double the safe marker of 1%.

Having peaked at 5,457 on January 4, driven by a spike in the Omicron variant, new cases dipped below 3,000 for most of last week, remaining above that level for most of the past month.

Of the new infections, 148 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections.

Of the 1,245 rapid tests conducted in retirement homes, 20 tested positive, and two new cases were found from 149 tests in restricted institutions.