COVID19: Three deaths, increase in patients

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Cyprus reported three COVID-19 deaths this week and a further drop in new infections, but hospitalisations increased to 84 as health officials were on high alert over how to respond to China’s worsening Covid landscape after authorities there lifted restrictions amid a wave of infections.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela has called an emergency meeting with government advisors on handling the coronavirus outbreak on January 2 to discuss the situation in China.

Hadjipantela will hold video calls with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Regional Director for Europe and his European counterparts for further coordination as some countries impose new travel rules on Chinese visitors.

Only Italy has done so in the EU, while others in the bloc either said they saw no need to follow suit or were waiting for a common stance across the 27 member states.

The health ministry said in its bulletin on Friday that the latest victims were two men and a woman, aged 79 to 91, raising the death toll since the pandemic started in March 2020 to 1,258.

This was down from four last week, as new cases continued to drop for the sixth consecutive week, down to 2,602 from 2,947 the week before.

Some 84 COVID patients were in hospital, 11 more than last week, while eight were in a critical state, down by three.

Three patients remained intubated in an ICU, while five were treated in an Acute Care Unit, also down by three.

Daily average below 400

Coronavirus infections since the pandemic rose to 631,111.

The average daily rate of infections dropped to 372 from 421 last week.

Testing was significantly below last week’s level, reaching 53,528 PCR and rapid antigen tests, about 14,500 less than before.

This prompted the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ to increase to 4.86% from 4.34%, almost five times higher than the safe infection rate of 1%.

Masks remain mandatory in hospitals, testing labs and pharmacies.

Free government testing sites are only available at state hospitals for visitors.