Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: Government expert predicts further strain on hospitals (updated)


Rolling out stricter measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus will depend on hospitalisations, a member of the government advisory committee said on Monday.

Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Virology at the Medical School of the University of Nicosia Petros Karayiannis said a rise in hospital admissions had been expected as the number of daily infections has surged, exceeding 1,000 for the first time since the pandemic started in March 2020.

On Sunday, 218 people were being treated in hospital, 55 in serious condition. The increase has forced health authorities to refer patients with other ailments to the private sector as they deployed more beds for Covid. Ten days ago, the number of hospitalised patients was 107.

Over nine out of 10, or 91.3 per cent, of those hospitalised were unvaccinated according to the health ministry.

“It was expected that hospitalisations would rise, with a delay as usual of eight to nine days,” Karayiannis said. “We will continue to have a rise because we continue to have high levels of positive cases.”

Karayiannis said putting other measures in place due to the rise in hospitalisations would “depend on the health system’s endurance.”

The spokesman of the state health services organisation (Okypy) said more admissions were expected in the coming days.

Spokesman of Okypy, which runs the hospitals, Charalambos Charilaou said the problem was caused by the fact that hospitals were full of patients with other conditions, compounded by staff being on summer holidays.

Some 15 per cent of staff, including doctors and nurses, were away on holiday, he said, and at present, Okypy was trying to resolve the issue without recalling personnel.

Problems are being experienced in the short-term Covid wards where patients undergo triage to determine whether they will be admitted or not.

There has also been a rise in A&E visits, possibly because GPs are away on holiday.

Cyprus has seen daily infections exceed 1,000 in the past week, now settling to high three-digits.

This prompted the government to broaden the use of a SafePass and announce incentives in a bid to encourage people to vaccinate.

Karayiannis expressed the hope that the measures, which come into force on Tuesday, will achieve the required result.

“They will take some time to yield results, but we want them to so that nothing else would be needed,” he said.

Karayiannis said personal protective measures have been ignored recently with people hugging and shaking hands, actions that did not help to prevent the spread.

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