A Covid-19 positive woman gave birth at Makarios Hospital on Sunday, the first natural birth in a specially designed room for coronavirus cases, State Health Services Organisation (Gesy) spokesman Charalambos Charilaou told the Cyprus News Agency.

Two other women who had also tested positive for coronavirus had previously given birth naturally in a special operating room at the hospital, the news agency said.

“A specifically designed room was established recently which has its own funnel separate from the central ventilation of the building,” Charilaou had told the Cyprus Mail last Saturday.

The hospital created a room suitable for Covid-positive mothers to give birth naturally, following a year of mandatory caesarean sections for pregnant women nationwide who tested positive for the virus.

The decision was welcomed by NGO Birth Forward Cyprus, who had repeatedly advocated for women forced to have a C-sections.

Previously, pregnant women who tested positive near the time of birth were referred to Makarios hospital based on protocol issued by the health ministry, the vice president of Birth Forward Iole Eteocleous told the Cyprus Mail.

“But the decision to only perform C-sections was taken by Makarios who claimed they could not perform vaginal births safely due to a lack of a negative pressure room,” Eteocleous explained.

Defending the hospital’s policy to not perform vaginal births, Charilaou confirmed statements regarding the lack of proper infrastructure for natural births in Covid-19 positive mothers.

He said if they were to perform such births “the virus would spread in the whole hospital because of the central ventilation”, adding that the creation of a room specifically for natural births of coronavirus patients was “not easy”.

This issue has now been overcome.