Around 185 people were being treated in hospital on Monday and more were expected in the coming days following the holidays, a health official said, as the government was considering imposing a lockdown to rein in Covid infections.

“Predictions for this week is that admissions will rise, maybe reaching 220,” spokesman for the state health services organisation (Okypy) Charalambos Charilaou said on Monday.

Speaking to the state broadcaster, CyBC, Charilaou said from then on, they expected the number to level out before starting to drop.

“We noticed that on December 26 the flow of hospitals rose; the same goes for January 2,” Charilaou said.

Charilaou said four Okypy hospitals were currently treating Covid patients, Nicosia, Limassol, Famagusta general hospitals, and Makarios children’s hospital.

Considering the rising infections however, instructions have also been given to Larnaca and Paphos hospitals to be ready to admit Covid cases.

Unlike during the first wave in March, state hospitals continue to provide care to patients suffering from other ailments although at a lower rate in recent days.

Last week, several ICU cases were transferred to private hospitals to make room for critical Covid cases needing treatment, Charilaou said.

Currently, nine patients out of 28 in the ICU did not need intubation and it was hoped they would be returning home in the next few days.

The private sector has also been asked to reduce operations that may need ICU beds.

Famagusta hospital, which was designated Covid hospital, has almost reached capacity, its director said on Monday.

Amalia Hadjiyianni said it is currently treating 74 patients, the highest number since March.

“Over 20 patients at the reference hospital, most above 65, are in critical condition,” she said.

Hadiyianni said the virus caused serious lung problems to people without underlying problems.

“Even very young people aged between 18 and 40, who fell ill or had heavy pneumonia symptoms and had to be hospitalised for intravenous treatment,” she said.

Hadjiyianni said people were discharged and admitted on a daily basis but staff could still handle the situation “working nonstop to treat and support patients with the biggest needs.”