Authorities to decide Wednesday if Nicosia General Hospital opens after lockdown, private hospitals on alert

The State Health Services Organisation (SHSO) said that a decision will be made on Wednesday concerning the operation of the Nicosia General Hospital. The hospital went on a 48-hour lockdown on Tuesday morning after one of the doctors of its Cardiac Surgery Clinic was tested positive for the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

Pambos Charilaou, a Spokesperson for SHSO, told CNA that “there is nothing new at the moment” and added that a decision will be made today, taking into account experts` suggestions on the matter.

When asked about a possible extension of the 48-hour lockdown, Charilaou said that the decision will be made by experts from the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health.

Routine operations which have been postponed will be rescheduled, while Emergency Departments continue their usual operation, Charilaou added.

He also said that all areas of the Nicosia General Hospital, where the suspected case was present, have been disinfected, while 33 nurses and 5 doctors working at the Cardiac Surgery Clinic have confined themselves voluntarily, despite their tests turning out to be negative.

All 152 samples from people that came in contact with the 64-year-old doctor, including patients, medical and nursing staff, as well as family members and relatives, were tested negative to coronavirus.

Charilaou said that measures taken at the Cardiac Surgery Clinic continue to apply and no admissions are being made until internal patients are treated properly and are dismissed, if their general medical condition allows so.

As for the Limassol General Hospital, the SHSO Spokesperson said that restrictive measures started to apply on Wednesday and will be in place for 48 hours. After that, measures will be reviewed, in line with developments at the Nicosia General Hospital, Charilaou concluded.

Savvas Kadis, the President of the Pancyprian Association of Private Hospitals, told CNA that private hospitals are in no position to handle cases infected with COVID-19 and will have to refer these cases to the Ministry of Health. He said moreover that private hospitals are ready to conform with the instructions of the Ministry on this matter.

“We remain on alert because we received clear instructions from the Ministry of Health on how to act. We, as private hospitals, cannot treat patients infected with coronavirus, we are prepared but as in all countries around the world, the handling of these cases is being done on a central level” said Kadis.

He also noted that if a patient, being treated at a private hospital, turns out to have contracted COVID-19, the hospital will need to shut down and all who came in contact with the case will have to isolate themselves.

According to Kadis, suspected cases who turn to private hospitals will be asked to contact the 1420 hotline, in line with the instructions given by the Health Ministry.

The President of the Association also said that all necessary precautions are being taken at private hospitals, including disinfection measures and restrictions for visitors, while disinfectants are available for both staff and guests.

Source: Cyprus News Agency