COVID19: Ten deaths, drop in new cases

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Cyprus reported ten COVID-19 deaths during the past seven days, two more from last week, with a significant drop in new infections and a stable number of hospitalisations, as health officials play down a surge due to new variants.

Due to a possible arrival of the Kraken variant, infectious diseases expert Dr Maria Koliou said earlier in the week there would not be a rapid increase in the epidemic curve.

She argued the Cypriot population already has immunity to Omicron 2 and five other variants, which are the most prevalent in the community and are related to Kraken.

The health ministry said in its bulletin on Friday that the latest victims were nine men and a woman, aged 72 to 90, raising the death toll since the pandemic started in March 2020 to 1,280.

This was up from eight last week, as new cases dropped to 2,667 from 3,353 last week and close to the 2,602 two weeks ago.

Some 90 COVID patients were in hospital, five more than last week, while 18 were in a critical state, also up by four.

Five patients remained intubated in an ICU, down by two, while 13 more were being treated in an Acute Care Unit from seven the week before.

Daily average below 400

Coronavirus infections since the pandemic rose to 640,729.

The average daily rate of infections dropped to 381, down from 479 last week.

Testing was marginally higher than last week’s level, reaching 68,093 PCR and rapid antigen tests, about 2,700 more than before.

These two factors prompted the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ to improve significantly to 3.92%, down from 5.13%, and about four 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.