Cyprus has already secured enough chloroquine for 240,000 people, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Wednesday night, assuring that there are sufficient quantities of the drug for the country’s population.
He also said the government ha launched a tender for the provision of 9 million masks at a cost of €3 million so that these can be worn by the general population. He said the results of the tender are expected within this week.
The minister was replying to questions during a press conference at the Presidential Palace after President Nicos Anastasiades announced that measures to combat the Covid-19 outbreak will be extended until end of April.
Referring to the arrival of 5 tons of chloroquine yesterday to meet the needs of Cyprus and Israel, Ioannou said that the treatment protocol both for adults and children was approved ten days ago and added that Cyprus is one of the first countries to have approved the treatment protocol and that the particular drug is part of the protocol.
Referring to the drug’s availability in Cyprus he said that the government has already secured quantities which will be enough for 240,000 patients.
Replying to a question as to the lack of masks in hospitals and pharmacies the Health Minister said that the specific masks cannot able to be manufactured in Cyprus due to their specifications.
The WHO right currently does not recommend that masksbe given out to the general population and that only two countries in the EU have done so, he noted.
But he said there was a trend in his direction and he had therefore asked for a tender to be launched last Monday for the provision of 9 million. “I am expecting the results of this tender, which should be completed within this week,” he said adding that the government’s intention is to go ahead with the implementation of this measure as well, he said.
Ioannou also said that protective equipment in public hospitals is sufficient. There had been shortages worldwide, he pointed out, adding that in the last three weeks when China’s market opened up the government made a “huge effort to secure quantities.”
The first cargo arrived last week, he said, adding that the next cargo is expected next Friday and that “we have bought equipment of a value of €15 million, which will be enough for the next 6 to 7 months.”
Replying to a question as to whether a plan of lifting measures is in place he said that plans are underway, adding that the fact that today it was announced that measures would be extended until April 30, but that “this does not mean that we are not taking steps.”
There will be a gradual return to normality, he explained, adding that this is what other countries are examining.
Replying to a question as to people who contract Covid-19 but are asymptomatic Ioannou said that it is a problem for Health Services, because a large percentage who contracts the coronavirus do not present symptoms.
He said that the government has decided to proceed with 20,000 tests in the next 20 days on people in both the public and the private sector who are more in danger of exposing themselves to the virus. He noted that so far, in terms of its size of population, Cyprus is second or third globally in tests performed.
(Cyprus News Agency)