One more coronavirus-related death was announced on Sunday in the Republic of Cyprus, as new confirmed cases are on the rise and health professionals begin to fear the worst.
Health officials announced on Sunday that a 68-year-old male died after being infected with the novel coronavirus, bringing the death toll on the divided island to seven, five men and one woman in the south and another man in the north.
Unconfirmed reports in Turkish Cypriot media said a second person had died in the north, but officials were quoted as saying the patient had suffered from other medical issues. It was not clear whether or not he was infected with the coronavirus. Other medical issues were also involved in four of the six coronavirus deaths in the south.
'I want to reiterate that from one moment to next, this could push our country to the limits'
The total number of known confirmed cases of the Covid-19 disease rose to 209 in the south, after 35 new cases were announced on Sunday, while a total of 64 cases have been confirmed in the north and 5 more on British Bases.
Local reports in Greek Cypriot media said over half of the known cases involved infections within the island, confirming fears that the coronavirus pandemic was also an endemic problem for Cyprus and not primarily imported cases.
According to health officials, 31 of the 35 latest cases were infected through local contacts, while 2 others had traveled abroad. The details of two other confirmed cases were still under investigation, while a total of 530 tests were conducted or completed on Sunday alone.
In one case, one infected person was found to have been in contact with 15 other people, family and friends, prompting health officials to warn that it was unknown how many suspected cases may have infected other people.
“There is no point in confining ourselves at home and then putting together family and social gatherings,” said professor Leondios Kostrikis.
Kostrikis, a professor of biotechnology and virology at the University of Cyprus, spoke on Sunday at a press conference, reiterating that “from one moment to next, this could push our country to the limits," adding that the risk was "very high" and calling on citizens to act responsibly.