Cyprus Mail

Finding medical staff to treat Covid shouldn’t be difficult

letters 1 grammata

I’ve been having this conversation with friends, and we never seem to get anywhere. Maybe your readers can help.

Everyone agrees that the main reason for Covid-19 restrictions isn’t the fatality rate of the disease itself (which is mild in the vast majority of people) but the fact that it’s so transmissible. Lots of people get sick at the same time, and hospitals become overwhelmed. Everyone keeps saying that we have to lock down, have to get vaccinated (and so on) for the sake of the hospitals.

Yet, after 18 months, the government has done almost nothing to increase hospital capacity.

My friends’ argument is that creating new beds is not enough, the problem is finding trained staff (especially ICU staff), which apparently is very difficult.

I actually wonder if it’s really so difficult. Surely an experienced nurse can learn to work in an ICU with some basic training? After all, we keep being told that we’re ‘at war’ with this virus. In wartime, you draft young men who are not professional soldiers, teach them the basics and send them to fight. You don’t just sit back and say it’s ‘too difficult’.

Even if it is very difficult, though, don’t we have many Cypriots in the diaspora who are trained doctors and nurses, and might come back with the right incentives?

Don’t we have medically trained people among the asylum seekers who’ve arrived in Cyprus, and sit around with nothing to do?

Couldn’t we hire trained ICU staff from a country like Bangladesh, which doesn’t have a big Covid problem? After all, we don’t need that many people. We’re a small place, a few dozen doctors and nurses would be more than enough. (And of course Bangladesh is only one example.)

My friends say we’ve never done this because it’s always seemed like the end is just around the corner. First we thought there wouldn’t be a second wave last autumn, then we thought vaccines would end the pandemic, etc.

Maybe so. But isn’t it finally time something was done?


Alex Menelaou


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