The Cyprus health ministry announced the detection of 62 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, a number the island hasn’t seen throughout its battle with the virus, with health officials and experts raising the alarm and coming together for an emergency meeting on Wednesday morning.
The new cases emerged after 3,645 lab tests, and raised total known cases in the Republic of Cyprus since the virus broke out in March to 2,109.
According to the ministry’s announcement, it has yet to look into the details behind 23 of the new cases, with the information to be announced on Wednesday.
Regarding the remaining 39 new cases, 22 emerged through contact tracing, seven involved people who took the initiative to get tested, three involved arrivals at Cyprus airports, three were people who got tested at a general hospital, three were part of special health groups or were referred for testing by their GP, and one was detected in the framework of the program targeting villages of the Larnaca and Famagusta district.
The three arrivals who tested positive all arrived on the island on Monday, with two flying in from London and one from Athens.
Regarding the 22 contacts, two were students of the Cyprus University of Technology, one of which was a medical student completing her practical requirements at the Limassol general hospital. Several students have of the university have tested positive so far.
Six others are contacts of a case announced last Friday, involving an employee of the Limassol café-bar ‘I Gonia’, which also supplies with hookah tobacco another spot, Mr Nargilax, where five cases have already been detected.
Seven are contacts of the Happy Teeth dentistry in Larnaca, involving five minors (three four-year-olds, one seven-year-old, and one five-year-old) and two adults who are related to two of the children.
Two more are contacts of the Portuguese flight attended who was announced positive for the virus on October 7, and another is a contact of a cluster formed at a Limassol hairdressing salon.
The two who were detected among the samples collected at general hospitals involved a patient receiving treatment at the Nicosia general, while the second has a travel history to Athens and got tested after developing symptoms.
Two more of Tuesday’s cases were part of special health groups, involving two people who took the test prior to undergoing surgery, while two were referred for testing by their GP after developing symptoms.
Seven more got tested at their own initiative. Three got tested after developing symptoms, with one involving the handball coach of Proodeftikos Paphou.
Health ministry issues desperate call to Cyprus public
In light of the extraordinarily high figures of new cases announced on Monday and Tuesday, the health ministry stressed that “the risks of the situation getting out of control are visible, and if measures and relevant protocols are not adhered BY EVERYBODY, the danger of a complete reversal of our efforts will become a reality.”
It added that “the chains of infection being detected in the recent period prove that health protocols are not being applied, resulting in the coronavirus being transmitted at dangerous levels at workplaces, educational institutions, food and drink spots, and especially at places frequented by young people.”
The health ministry also raised the alarm over the increase in symptomatic coronavirus cases, indicating an imminent increased need for hospitalisation, and expressed concern over the fact that last week saw three patients die over a period of four days.
The Famagusta general hospital is currently treating two coronavirus patients, while two more are intubated at the Nicosia general hospital ICU. Three more coronavirus patients are receiving treatment at other hospitals.
After the recent surge in cases, the health minister announced earlier on Tuesday that he has called for an emergency meeting with the government’s coronavirus task force at on Wednesday morning to go over the latest data and to identify ways of dealing with the situation.