COVID19: Eight deaths, increase in cases

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Cyprus reported eight COVID-19 deaths on Friday, four more than last week, with an increase in new infections and a steady number of hospitalisations.

On Thursday, health authorities lifted the entry requirement for a negative 48-hour PCR test from all passengers arriving from China.

The government imposed the measure on 15 January, as Nicosia adopted EU recommendations following China’s COVID-19 outbreak.

The health ministry said in its weekly bulletin that the latest victims were six men and two women aged 67 to 91, raising the death toll since the pandemic started in March 2020 to 1,305.

Four deaths were reported in the past week and four more retrospectively the previous week.

The number of new cases coronavirus increased to 2,062 from 1,516. Of these, 64 were positive in targeted testing in care homes, two in closed institutions and just 21 in primary, high schools and special schools.

Some 48 COVID patients were in hospital, unchanged from last week, while 12 were in a critical state, up by one.

Seven patients remained intubated in an ICU, one more from last week, while two more were being treated in an Acute Care Unit, three less than a week ago.

Daily average below 300

Coronavirus infections since the pandemic started rose to 649,093.

The average daily rate of infections increased to 294 from 216 last week and 193 the week before.

Testing was higher than last week’s level, reaching 69,346 PCR and rapid antigen tests, about 5,000 more than before.

These two factors prompted the benchmark ‘positivity rate’ to continue to increase to 2.97% from 2.34% last week. The infection rate remains nearly three times higher than the safe rate of 1%.

Masks remain mandatory in hospitals, testing labs and pharmacies.

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