COVID19: Five deaths as new cases leap to 3,700

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Cyprus reported five coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, all women, aged 78 to 87, as new daily cases leapt to 3,695, more than double Monday’s infections, with hospitalisations dropping to 120, of whom 23 are critical.

The rapid rise in new infections, after three consecutive days of reporting less than 2,000 daily cases, was due mainly to the low testing figures on Monday, a major public holiday marking the first day of lent.

The Health Ministry said in its Covid bulletin that March death toll jumped to 19 and the national figure to 883, two years into the pandemic.

January was the deadliest month on record with 100, followed by 91 in February, overtaking the previous record of 80 last August.

Intubated patients decreased to nine, while 53% of hospitalised COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated.

Some 20 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 has risen to 338,517.

Testing resumes in schools

A total of 133,874 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, nearly triple the figure of the previous day, as testing resumed in schools with 33,200 samples.

Of the 19,968 tests in primary schools, 111 were positive, 96 infections from 10,810 tests in high schools and 67 new infections were identified from 3,968 samples as part of the ‘test to stay’ programme. A further three tested positive among 684 samples from special schools.

The rapid increase in the number of tests, as well as new cases from 1,584 to 3,695, helped stabilise the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ at 2.76%, down from Monday’s 3.44%, but still more than triple the safe marker of 1%.

Having peaked at 5,457 on January 4, driven by a spike in the Omicron variant, new cases remained below 2,500 in recent weeks.

Of the new infections, 93 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections.

Some 25 were positive from 2,092 tests in care homes.