Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: EU needs to coordinate over measures says minister

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou

The European Union needs to take coordinated actions on the economy and tourism to restart our societies after dealing with the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Tuesday.

“Potentially extreme [measure] relaxations in one country could have negative impacts on the rest of the countries,” he said during a live chat on social media with EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.

He added that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has an important role to play in coordinating member states.

Commenting on a potential second wave of the virus, Ioannou said attention needs to be focused on securing a satisfactory number of consumables, equipment, and reagents to conduct lab tests unhindered.

“At the same time, all actions focus on preserving a sufficient number of pharmaceutical products that, according to clinical studies, appear to have a positive effect on the treatment of the symptoms of the disease,” he said.

Ioannou added until a vaccine for Covid-19 is developed, there needs to be correct management of the existing quantities of medicines.

“As we know as of now, only the development of an effective and safe vaccine for coronavirus will be the permanent solution to the pandemic,” he said.

He added the EU4Health initiative, with the establishment of the first steering group on vaccine strategy, also aims in this direction, with the participation of representatives from the 27 health ministries.

“Through cooperation with a vaccine company and the EU’s central approach, the goal is to support the development of a vaccine and, consequently, to ensure its supply when clinical trials are completed, depending on the needs of every country.”

The EU is planning on using €2.7 billion to invest in companies the commission thinks can create or an in the advanced stages of creating a vaccine for the virus.

Regarding the development of vaccine, Kyriakides said: “These efforts for the vaccine have been endorsed by all 27 member states. As soon as we have a safe and acceptable vaccine, we can set it aside for the equal use of all member states.”

Quizzed on the issues at the checkpoints in Cyprus and the financial burden on crossing, Ioannou said there has been cooperation with the Turkish Cypriot side but the decision on the operation of checkpoints is a political issue.

He added the decision also has to do with actions taken in the north and not only in the state-controlled areas.

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