COVID19: Eight deaths, small drop in new cases

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Cyprus reported eight COVID-19 deaths during the past seven days, double last week’s death toll, with a small drop in new infections and hospitalisations, as stricter measures are imposed for arrivals from China.

From Sunday, all passengers arriving from China must present a negative 48-hour PCR test, as Nicosia adopts EU recommendations following a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Cabinet approved the decision on Wednesday, following a meeting between Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela and experts advising the government on coronavirus.

The health ministry said in its bulletin on Friday that the latest victims were four men and four women, aged 60 to 93, raising the death toll since the pandemic started in March 2020 to 1,270.

This was up from four last week, as new cases dropped slightly to 3,353 from 3,598 last week and 2,602 the week before.

Some 85 COVID patients were in hospital, five less than last week, while 14 were in a critical state, up by two.

Seven patients remained intubated in an ICU, while seven more were being treated in an Acute Care Unit.

Daily average below 500

Coronavirus infections since the pandemic rose to 638,062.

The average daily rate of infections dropped to 479, down from 514 last week.

Testing was higher than last week’s level, reaching 65,398 PCR and rapid antigen tests, about 3,500 more than before.

This prompted the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ to improve slightly to 5.13%, down from 5.81%, about 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.