About 30 per cent of coronavirus patients currently in ICU are under 50, Okypy spokesman Charalambos Charilaou said on Friday, as the median age of coronavirus patients receiving intensive care dropped to 57.6 islandwide.

As of Friday, 50 people were in the intensive care unit of the Nicosia general hospital, including 14 unvaccinated patients who are under 50, Charilaou told CyBC.

He said the average age of coronavirus patients stands at 59, while for those in ICU it has dropped to 57.6 years.

At the same time, there has been an increase in the hospitalisations of elderly patients, specifically those aged 70 and over.

Charilaou said the majority of these patients are unvaccinated, with one third of coronavirus deaths among the elderly concerning vaccinated patients in July, an increase from previous months.

Between July 1 and 20, six out of the 18 deaths recorded in people aged 70 and older concerned fully vaccinated patients. In contrast, between June 1 and July 26, nine fully vaccinated and two vaccinated with one dose of the vaccine died from Covid-19, out of a total of 48 deaths. Eight of them were people aged 71 and older, the data showed.

Asked whether the increase in hospitalisations and deaths among the elderly indicates a third dose of the jab is required, Charilaou said that the important thing is for those who have not yet been vaccinated to do so as “it is never too late to get vaccinated”.

To manage the situation in state hospitals, the spokesman said Okypy is scrambling to add beds in intensive care units. Moreover, patients with health issues unrelated to Covid are being referred to private hospitals.

“There is a plan in development which provides for the development of more than 300 beds in common wards and around 65 beds in ICU,” he said.

Ten additional beds were scheduled to be made available for ICU patients at Nicosia general hospital, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said on Thursday, with the provision to develop 12 more.

However, the “potential of the health system is not inexhaustible”, the spokesman said, reiterating the health minister’s comments, as there are patients with other health problems, such as cancer, who might not have the same access to health care during the pandemic.

This might result in increased morbidity in other diseases, Charilaou said.

According to Charilaou, “the health system is for everyone” and not for a specific group of the population who choose not to be vaccinated.

Within the health system, some 90 per cent of Okypy doctors and 70 per cent of the nursing staff have been vaccinated, the official said.