"If necessary we will take measures to manage the Omicron mutation after we confer with our experts", said Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas today in statements after the opening of the new wing for post-COVID patients at Eden Resort in Tersefanou village.
He urged the public to continue wearing masks and abide by all self-protection measures.
“From the moment that we give people the most expensive vaccine available, I believe they should not be complaining....We did not stop anyone from taking Pfizer.”
In statements after the opening of the post-COVID-19 wing, the Minister said he was proud because Cypriot patients now have the opportunity to have services that exist only in Germany. “Our country must compete with big countries of Europe, that is what we are doing and we are getting good results in terms of treating coronavirus patients."
He added that "we are currently pioneering with a ground-breaking center for patient recovery".
The Minister said post-COVID patients need to have additional treatment after discharge and following feedback, they implemented what was necessary.
Asked what measures the Ministry will take due to concern in Europe that Omicron mutation is slowly taking over the continent, the Minister said “we are monitoring the situation” and added that all hospital admissions will be checked for Omicron.
Invited to comment on remarks by professor Dr. Leontios Kostrikis that in ten days the Omicron variant in Cyprus might reach 90%, the Minister said that "this particular variant will spread all over the world and not only in our country. It is a variant that is highly transmissible, it will spread in our country and the point is to take timely measures". However, he said that "before we take any measures, we must all help by wearing our masks during the holidays, to do rapid tests and self-tests before social gatherings. If we stick to these measures, I think we will do very well."
Regarding the increased hospitalizations in ICUs, the Minster said that they had discussed the issue with the State Health Services Organisation and private hospitals which have declared their intention to assist. At the same time, patients are referred to private hospitals from state hospitals.
Regarding the number of COVID-19 cases, the Minister said to take more decisions for measures, we must consult first with experts. If necessary, he added, there will be an extraordinary meeting during the holidays.
On the issue of vaccines, Hadjipantelas said that Moderna is the best vaccine worldwide while the Scientific Advisory Committee noted that the combination Pfizer and Moderna provides the best possible result and at the moment, Moderna is the best and most expensive vaccine.
“From the moment that we give people the most expensive vaccine available, I believe they should not be complaining. If people want Pfizer then they should make an appointment through the Vaccination Portal. We did not stop anyone from taking Pfizer”, he added.
Regarding the cases at the Emergency Reception Centre in Pournara, Minister Hadjipantelas said that the government acted and took measures immediately. Asked about the hygiene conditions prevailing in "Pournara", Hadjipandelas said it was difficult, because there are many people there, adding “it is an issue handled by the Ministry of Interior and I cannot mention anything else."
Permanent Secretary at the Health Ministry, Christina Yiannaki said that the contract with Eden was made by the Ministry and all patients who have lung problems after COVID will be referred for treatment and rehabilitation.
The contract provides for 30 patients and already four persons were admitted while 100 patients are recovering at a special ward of the rehabilitation center.
In a speech during the opening of the new wing for the post COVID patients at Eden Resort, the Minister said he was fully aware of the important role which the Ministry is playing in ensuring a comprehensive rehabilitation system, expanding its activities beyond primary and secondary prevention, primary, secondary, and tertiary therapy, palliative, but also home care.
This includes specialized therapy and training, helping people with disabilities achieve maximum mobility, a sense of well-being and a satisfactory level of independence. Most people who are infected with COVID, that is eight out of ten patients, will not need to be hospitalized, he added.
However, the Minister said the “rest, around 5% will need intubation and hospitalization in the Intensive Care Unit or multi-day hospitalization in a Pulmonary Clinic and a COVID clinic since infection with COVID-19 can cause severe acute respiratory disease."
The COVID pandemic, he said, makes it imperative to provide specialized and high-level rehabilitation services, with the main point of reference being a multidisciplinary approach and holistic recovery.