There are currently 225 coronavirus patients being treated at state hospitals, the highest number since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago, the spokesman of the state health services organisation (Okypy) Charalambos Charilaou told the Cyprus News Agency on Monday.

Of the 225, there are 33 Covid-19 patients in intensive care and another 24 in the high dependency units – which means that one in four of the patients are in serious or critical condition.

Charilaou said that the number of patients in Nicosia hospital’s ICU has edged up over the past few days. Other than patients with Covid-19, there are about 15 to 20 patients with other health issues being treated at the ICU daily. Efforts are underway to find beds in the private sector for the latter cases so as to decongest Nicosia hospital’s ICU, he said.

Paphos hospital is currently treating 21 coronavirus patients, three of whom are in the high dependency unit. Together with Larnaca, the two hospitals have been able to ease the pressure on the other hospitals which have been admitting Covid cases since the start of the pandemic.

Famagusta hospital, which is the reference hospital for coronavirus, is 92 per cent full, with 69 patients of whom six are in the increased dependency unit, its director Amalia Hadjiyianni told CNA.

“With the epidemiological situation of recent days and with the British variant dominant in the community, there has been a new wave of admissions in public hospitals,” she said.

Some patients are in serious condition. The youngest at Famagusta general is 32 and the oldest is 97, with both displaying symptoms of heavy pneumonia and requiring oxygen, she said.

Meanwhile, amid efforts to widen vaccination coverage among front line health workers, Okypy has stepped up information campaigns among its staff.

So far, about 75 per cent of doctors have been vaccinated, but numbers among nursing staff is lower at below 45 per cent, Charilaou said.

But he said the information campaign was delivering results, with increased interest in the past week as he expressed the hope that more health professionals will be vaccinated over the next days.