A thousand units of protective medical clothing from China have been delivered to Cyprus just in time on a flight from Greece, which also carried dozens of passengers who were stranded in various European cities.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, a Cyprus Airways flight from Athens landed at Larnaca International Airport on Monday, carrying five crew members and 38 Cypriot passengers, some of whom had traveled to Europe for medical reasons and got trapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The plane, which touched down in the evening just after 8pm, also carried 1000 protective medical uniforms donated from China to Cyprus, which were originally sent to Greece. CNA cited sources saying the foreign ministry of the Republic of Cyprus had made the request, while reports last week said plans for a delivery by a Greek military aircraft had fallen through.
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, the government had been mounting efforts since early February to locate medical supplies overseas.
'Unfortunately, due to the high level of concern among medical professionals, there was some misuse of protective gear that resulted to fewer quantities'
“No country had enough supplies to respond to the pandemic,” Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou told Kathimerini.
Ioannou, who announced on Monday the tightening of current restrictive measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak, pointed out that there was a shortage of medical supplies but assured the public that help was on the way.
The minister told Kathimerini’s Apostolos Tomaras that “unfortunately, due to the high level of concern among medical professionals, there was some misuse of protective gear that resulted to fewer quantities.”
Tomaras wrote that medical consumables were in short supply last week, prompting government officials to raise the alarm and the minister describing the situation as a “serious problem, just like in all other countries.”
"As I have said many times, we have seen to it in a timely manner so that we have the necessary quantities, but due to international shortages their supply is difficult," he told CNA.
Large batch from China due Saturday
Ioannou said an Aegean flight was due to arrive to Cyprus on Saturday with the first large batch of medical supplies ordered from China.
"This cargo that we are going to buy will cover our needs for the entire crucial period," the minister said, adding that the government has put in additional orders and will charter more flights if it became necessary.
Reports said some of the passengers on the Cyprus Airways flight, who had undergone surgery overseas, were allowed to go home under strict protocols, while others were being taken to state-approved quarantine facilities where they will remain for 14 days.