The health ministry’s epidemiological team is open to criticism about the handling of the pandemic, one of its members said on Tuesday, after a group of professionals questioned the state’s decisions to prevent the spread of the virus.

Saying “there is always room for improvement”, the advisor noted the team is ready to discuss solutions or proposals which have been proven beneficial and were not properly adopted.

Concerns, even criticism, on the management of this “unprecedent situation” is “important and welcomed”, however, reactions involving lawsuits and protests are unnecessary, Dr Dorothea Pana told the Cyprus News Agency.

“We are a democratic state with a very high socio-economic and educational level of citizens and in difficult phases of crises, we also show our quality by discussing and finding solutions together,” she added.

She spoke a day after a group of doctors, lawyers, educators and scientists from the network gathered outside the attorney-general’s office to demand explanations regarding what they described as “scandalous” management of Covid-19.

Among others, they argued the measures taken during the pandemic have brought about social and family division, economic impoverishment of many people, and psychological devastation and intimidation, especially of children.

No one doubts the burden that Covid 19 pandemic has caused, Pana said in response, “and all our actions once we pass the acute phase of the pandemic should be to support our country and Europe in reducing as much as possible all these parameters that have been affected.”

Regarding claims the vaccination of children is unnecessary since they are not at serious risk, Pana said paediatricians are making efforts to explain to parents the benefits and risks of vaccination.

She added the use of face masks, the long-term use of which by young children had also been criticised, has been proven to help reduce the spread of the virus, if used together with other measures.

“There is a lot of evidence in relation to the safety of mask use in children as well,” she said, and no proof of the claimed risks.

However, Pana said the team understands all the pressure people have been under, as they themselves have been under, but, she said, “we are not against each other.”

“We are together in this effort… There have been a lot of seminars so that we can listen to these groups of people as well… for the benefit of all of us and especially the children because they are our future,” she said.