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Coronavirus: Outpatient departments open at hospitals (update 3)

Photos: Christos Theodorides

The gradual reopening of outpatient clinics in public hospitals is expected to be completed in one or two days, spokesman of state health services organisation Okypy Charalambos Charilaou said on Monday, hours after the reopening of clinics started.

The opening followed a decree by the health ministry allowing for visits by patients other than those being treated for the coronavirus.

In Limassol, Famagusta and Larnaca, appointments are being scheduled and the hospitals announced patients will be seen from Tuesday or Wednesday.

However, some 20 mainly elderly people were seen by doctors at Limassol hospital after they showed up without appointment on Monday morning because doctors did not want to inconvenience them by turning them away.

At Nicosia general there was little more than a trickle of patients in the morning, all of whom had their temperature taken before entering.

This is in line with Okypy intentions, which mean to ensure overcrowding is avoided and staff and patients are safe.

In Paphos, 50 patients had visited the state hospital’s outpatient clinic by lunchtime, using a separate entrance and exit where masks were handed out and temperatures were taken.

Appointments were arranged to space out visits.

“The patients will arrive half an hour before their appointment, there will be a specific entrance for the outpatient clinics. There will be a strict check on whether they have an appointment or not. Unnecessary accompanying persons will not be allowed, only in exceptional cases where the health condition of the patient requires it. The temperature will be taken, if there is a fever or respiratory symptoms, then the person will be referred to the screening office and will not be allowed to enter the outpatient clinic. Masks will be handed out, washing hands will be done with an antiseptic,” Charilaou explained.

The rescheduling of previous appointments which were cancelled due to the coronavirus has now started.

He reiterated that to be admitted to outpatient clinics, each patient must have an appointment confirmed by a phone call.

All surgeries which are not life-threatening are still suspended.

As the number of cases of coronavirus detected in Cyprus remains below ten daily, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Sunday said the good news paves the way for the next steps.

In a message posted on Twitter, Ioannou said “we have a plan for the gradual lifting of restrictive measures” so that people can return to their daily routines.

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