COVID19: No relaxations as cases spiral to 5,300

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Cyprus reported one coronavirus death on Monday, with new cases spiralling to a near-record 5,286 and hospitalisations rose to 149, prompting the authorities to reconsider relaxing restrictions.

The Health Ministry said it will hold back on lifting some measures, such as removing the use of masks in public areas, and will reconsider changes during the next epidemiological survey, in two weeks’ time.

Despite a somewhat improvement recorded during the past few weeks, new daily cases remained stubbornly above 3,000, while the number of patients being treated in hospitals witnessed a steady increase.

The health ministry said in its daily bulletin that the latest victim was a 63 year old man, raising the March death toll to 45, with the total number of Covid-19 victims since the pandemic started at 915.

January was the deadliest month on record with 101, followed by 91 in February, overtaking the previous record of 81 last August.

The number of patients being treated in state hospitals rose significantly for the second day in a row, up by six to 149, with ten more critical cases, rising to 31.

Intubated patients dropped to seven, while 54% of hospitalised COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated.

Some 21 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 rose to 382,642.

35,000 tests in schools

A total of 114,066 PCR and rapid tests were conducted during the past 24 hours, about 39,000 more than the previous day, with 35,000 tests in schools.

Of the 11,035  tests in high schools, 107 were positive, as well as 174 from 18,418 tests in primary schools, while 106 new infections were discovered from the “test to stay” programme for students and teachers.

With a rapid rise in the number of tests, and a leap in new cases from 3,698 to 5,286, near the peak of 5,457 on January 4 driven by the Omicron variant, the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ dropped slightly from Sunday’s all-time high of 4.9% to 4.63%, more than four times above the safe marker of 1%.

Of the new infections, 140 were identified through contact tracing linked to earlier infections.

There were 45 new infections in care homes from 1,424 tests, while two were positive from 277 tests in restricted institutions.