Twenty new coronavirus cases were announced on Sunday, bringing the total to 446, with the decreasing daily numbers allowing experts to sound a hint of cautious optimism while stressing there was no room for complacency.
One death was also reported, that of a 76-year-old man. He had contracted coronavirus, but his death has been attributed to other serious health issues he had.
Eighteen of the new cases concern contacts of others already tested positive, and two persons whose contacts are being investigated. One of those who tested positive was among the samples taken from Aradippou residents. The village along with Paphos have been described as hotspots for infections.
As regards coronavirus-linked deaths, the total number who have died is 14: nine who died from the virus and five with Covid-19 but who died from other causes.
There are currently 11 people on ventilators, three at Limassol hospital’s intensive care unit and eight in Nicosia hospital’s ICU. Their condition is stable but critical.
Thirty-seven people have been discharged so far, four of them on Sunday.
Virologist Dr Leontios Kostrikis said there had been cases where people who tested positive did not fully inform epidemiologists about all their contacts.
“Those who withhold important information do not protect their friends and loved-ones. Without knowing, they may have infected them,” Kostrikkis said.
He made a plea to every person tested positive to provide all the necessary information so that the contact tracing process is not in vain.
But he also focussed on the decreasing trend of new cases, pointing out that from the 58 of last Wednesday, the highest number detected in a day so far, cases gradually dropped to 20 by Sunday.
“Though it would be premature to describe this as a sign of the virus retreating, we feel optimistic over the effectiveness of the restrictive measures in place,” Kostrikkis said.
He expressed his gratitude for the sacrifices the public was making to help tackle the virus.
“The situation is under control but, unfortunately, it is also changeable. At any time, everything can be overturned. Please stay home and keep your distance (from others),” he said.
Dr Marios Loizou, clinical director of Okypy, said that the mortality rate in Cyprus from Covid-19 in relation to the total number of confirmed cases is around two per cent.
“These numbers so far are satisfactory and clearly below the global average. Our effort is to make them better,” he said.
Loizou reiterated that the smaller the number of cases, the smaller the number of seriously ill people.
“The smaller the number of seriously ill people, the fewer deaths we will have,” he said.
Free coronavirus testing continued for the second day on Sunday in Paphos after it emerged the area is a hotspot for the virus, along with Aradippou in the Larnaca district.
In total 388 Paphos residents were tested for coronavirus during the weekend: 186 on Saturday and 202 on Sunday. The tests will continue on Monday and Tuesday.
Around 1,000 Paphos area residents were randomly selected by the ministry of health based on demographic criteria defined by the ministry’s scientific and epidemiological team to ensure statistical sampling.
Tests for Aradippou residents that started on Friday have been completed. In total 525 samples were taken.
“Three positive cases were announced yesterday out of 38 samples. Today, we have another positive case out of 178 tests,” Kostrikkis said. He added that results for the remaining samples would be announced within the coming days.
In the north three more cases were confirmed on Sunday bringing the total to 91.