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21 May, 2024
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Doctor says government stalling pandemic response

Critic says Cypriot officials too quick to change plans but too slow in taking measures to stop virus spread


A local doctor says additional pandemic measures that go into effect next week should have been taken back in November, while accusing the Cypriot government of failing to stick to a plan to minimize the spread of coronavirus.

Sofocles Sofocleous, a doctor in nuclear medicine who has also been speaking publicly on the pandemic, was a guest on state radio Friday morning when he criticized the government’s recent actions aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

The radiologist spoke as the latest official daily count of known coronavirus cases reached 3851, and two days after the health ministry announced new extraordinary measures.

They were surprised, well, I wasn't

Sofocleous added "they say they were surprised, well, I was not surprised,” as he went on to accuse government officials of changing measures too frequently or being very late in taking stricter measures.

“They change measures every three days, we have changed measures nine times since November,” Sofocleous said, suggesting there was not enough time to see what worked and what did not.

A new measure decided earlier this week requiring mandatory PCR tests for vaccinated passengers won’t go into effect until January 4, which prompted critics to say the government was stalling.

'These measures that go into effect in January should have been in place back in November'

“These measures that go into effect in January should have been in place back in November,” Sofocleous said.

The PCR mandate on all passengers came about after Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela was warned by associates who were alarmed after seeing a pattern where infected travelers who had symptoms were still boarding Cyprus-bound flights.

This week Hadjipantela lashed out at infected travelers who had symptoms but still chose to fly back home for the holidays, saying “these cunning persons took advantage of our kindness to let them enjoy their holidays in their home country and transmitted the virus.”

Earlier this year Sofocleous called on the government instead of pushing for a relaxation of measures to launch a plan until early 2022 where persons would need to wear face masks when socializing with people outside their social bubble.

“All of us must have a mask on when we go to places that we do not know the people whom we might socialize, where there is a crowd, until the beginning of 2022,” Sofocleous told AlphaNewsLive in July.

Back in July the doctor also had called for the use of better quality face masks, saying the SSP95 would offer protection both to the person wearing it as well as others while a typical surgical mask offered protection only to others but not the person wearing it.

On Wednesday the Cabinet approved a measure that would recommend the use of double surgical masks or high protection masks, while warning citizens to avoid the use of a cloth masks.

The doctor did not say whether he favored a lockdown but said strict measures should include isolation for any infected persons and their close contacts.


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