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Coronavirus: Health ministry seeking ICU staff abroad

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File Photo: Ministry permanent secretary Christina Yiannaki

The health ministry is trying to find intensivists abroad to staff intensive care units (ICUs), which were struggling because of the high number of serious Covid cases, a senior official said on Friday.

Ministry permanent secretary Christina Yiannaki said efforts will be made to bring intensivists from abroad “to help intensivists in the Nicosia general hospital ICUs.”

Hospitalised Covid patient numbers have dropped in recent days but not those in ICUs, which include 14 still battling with the virus’ effects long after they tested negative.

The state has referred 462 patients to private hospitals, 47 of whom in ICUs. Of those, 27 remain in intensive care.

“I must say the situation is manageable,” Yiannaki said. “Every day we make efforts to decongest the general hospital because hospitalisations might have dropped but the number of those intubated remains, and we also have other, non-Covid patients and surgeries.”

Yiannaki was speaking during a visit at a walk-in vaccination centre in Nicosia, where 600 people had received their jabs by 11am while 3,000 were expected to be served by day’s-end.

By Thursday, walk-in centres had administered vaccines to 31,000 people.

“This programme will continue and from September 1, we will start doing it on Saturday’s and afternoons,” she said.

Concerning the administration of a third, booster, jab, Yiannaki said the government was waiting for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) decision before going ahead in Cyprus.

“We are ready to start it,” Yiannaki said, without providing any details on the population groups who will receive it first.

It is expected however, that if the booster is given the go ahead by EMA, the first to receive it would be the elderly in carehomes.

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