Cyprus Mail

No reason to panic about coronavirus, health minister says

Health Minister Costantinos Ioannou

Cypriots should not panic over the coronavirus, Health Minister Costantinos Ioannou said on Thursday after briefing the relevant House committee on the issue.

An epidemiologist was present during Thursday’s health committee meeting, the minister said.

He said that according to the expert’s estimates, only ten per cent of people affected by coronavirus are serious cases and less than two per cent are fatal, while less serious cases might not even be reported.

Ioannou said the relevant departments of the ministry are in daily contact with the World Health Organisation and that all protocols and procedures were being observed.

“We are all on alert, but there is no reason for panic,” he said, though he did not rule out the possibility of the virus spreading to Cyprus.

Safety measures were still being taken in all crossing points, the minister assured, as well as at the airports and ports.  Photos were published in the north on Thursday of thermal imaging at entry points from Turkey.

Last Friday, the health ministry put in isolation a 22-year-old Chinese man suspected of being infected with coronavirus, and identified the passengers of his flight to warn them of the possibility of infection.

The man was cleared on Sunday after tests were sent to Paster Institute in Greece but the case was a good example of the ministry’s ability to deal with the virus.

On Monday, the state received the reagents and is able to test suspicious cases of coronavirus in the Cyprus institute of neurology and genetics.

In connection with the possible arrival and spreading of the coronavirus in Cyprus, the operational issues at the accidents and emergency departments in Cypriot hospitals was also raised by Akel MP Giorgos Georgiou during the committee. He said the departments were operating below safety levels. Limassol’s pulmonary clinic was operating with just one pulmonologist and was on the verge of closing down, he added.

Georgiou agreed that the issue of coronavirus should be handled with calm and without panic.

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