COVID19: Four deaths, spike in new cases

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Cyprus reported four COVID-19 deaths this week and an increase in new infections and hospitalisations as health officials prepare to adopt measures to respond to China’s worsening Covid landscape.

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said Cyprus should follow EU recommendations on handling travellers from China following the latest wave of COVID-19 infections sweeping the country.

In comments to state radio CyBC, Kyriakides confirmed that European nations on Wednesday recommended imposing new restrictions on travellers from China amid fears of an increase in Covid cases.

“Passengers departing from China will have to present a negative Covid test before leaving the country if heading towards an EU country.

“They will also likely be asked to wear facial masks during the flights and potentially be subjected to random testing on arrival,” said Kyriakides.

Travellers from China must take a COVID-19 test no more than 48 hours before their flight.

The health ministry said in its bulletin on Friday that the latest victims were three men and a woman, aged 85 to 93, raising the death toll since the pandemic started in March 2020 to 1,262.

This was unchanged from the four last week, as new cases increased for the first time in six weeks, shooting up to 3,598 from 2,602 the week before.

Some 90 COVID patients were in hospital, six more than last week, while 12 were in a critical state, up by four.

Five patients remained intubated in an ICU, while seven were treated in an Acute Care Unit, also up by two.

Daily average passes 500

Coronavirus infections since the pandemic rose to 634,709.

The average daily rate of infections shot up to 514 from 372 last week.

Testing was significantly higher than last week’s level, reaching 61,914 PCR and rapid antigen tests, about 8,000 less than before.

This prompted the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ to spike to 5.81% from 4.86%, almost six 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.