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ICUs bed availability is not unlimited and we may run out of beds, Cyprus Health Minister warns

Cyprus Health Minister, Michalis Hadjipantelas, warned on Friday that the availability of beds in Intensive Care Units is not unlimited, even though there is availability right now, and underlined the importance of people getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Accompanied by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Christina Yiannaki, and other officers, Hadjipantelas visited in the morning the walk-in Covid vaccination centre, at the State Fair, in Nicosia, to inspect the process being followed. Hundreds of people, the vast majority of whom were foreigners, were waiting in line in order to be vaccinated.

In her statements, Yiannaki said that over 1 million 915 thousand vaccines have been provided so far, adding that the percentage of people who have been fully vaccinated is 69.9% and of people who have had the first shot is 76.3%.

Referring to the situation at the walk-in centre, Hadjipantelas said that there is great response by the people, and called on everyone to use the opportunity to get vaccinated.

He noted that these centres are manned by nurses and that it is difficult to create new ones as there are not enough nurses to work there.

Asked about the situation in the hospitals, Hadjipantelas said that there are currently available beds in the ICUs, however the message that needs to be conveyed to the people, and especially those who have not been vaccinated and constitute the majority of those treated in the ICUs, is that beds are not innumerable there and there is possibility at some stage not to have enough beds.

He noted that there are also patients with other health problems who need to be treated in the ICUs.

“Therefore there is one way not to run out of beds in ICUs, and this is for people to get vaccinated in order not to need to be treated there,” he said.

Asked about the issue of Turkish Cypriots, Hadjipantelas said that about 171 Turkish Cypriots were vaccinated on Thursday and that there was a meeting on Friday morning at the Ministry as regards the way they will issue the vaccination certificates for the Turkish Cypriots.

He noted that they expect that they will be able to announce the process which will be followed this by the end of the day.

Moreover, Hadjipantelas said that on August 23 the Council of Ministers will take decisions as regards the operation of universities.

He noted that universities have asked to be able to operate with a physical presence of 80% in each class, noting that this requires that students are vaccinated.

“We have given the choice in case students are not vaccinated to be able to present a negative PCR test,” he added.

Asked about the possibility of  taking steps aiming to contain the spread of the virus, the Health Minister said that they are evaluating the situation and the data they have before them.

On her part Yiannaki said that 350 COVID-19 patients were sent to the private sector and 40 to the ICUs. He noted that currently there are 79 beds available in the private sector, while 26 out of the 40 patients have remained in the ICUs.

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