The health ministry on Friday announced four deaths and 14,914 new coronavirus infections after 111,137 tests in the week ending Thursday, giving a positivity rate of 13.42 per cent.

Friday’s announcement coincides with the return of the mask mandate indoors aimed at containing a spike in cases.

The deaths of four men aged 69, 87, 91, and 92, and bring the total number attributed to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic to 1,079.

There are 97 coronavirus patients in state hospitals, eight of them in serious condition. Of the eight, one is intubated and the rest in high dependency units.

Three post-Covid patients who are no longer infectious remain intubated in the ICU, the health ministry said.

The 14,914 new infections recorded in the past week bring the total of positive cases to 530,510.

Of the 14,914 cases, 1,043 were reported after 5,052 PCR tests and the remaining 13,871 from 106,085 rapid tests.

Five cases were detected from contact tracing (13 tests).

Private initiative accounted for 4,322 PCR tests and 91,263 rapid tests leading to the detection of 850 and 13,271 infections respectively.

And there were 14,822 rapid tests under the health ministry’s programme, from which 600 positive cases emerged.

Of these 492 were from rapid testing sites (after 6,734 tests) that operate only on weekends, 27 from the national guard (from 373 tests), 47 at care homes (from 4,880 tests) and 34 at closed facilities (from 2,835 tests)