European Union Health Ministers are holding an extraordinary meeting today, 6 March, in order to discuss ways to tackle the coronavirus threat collectively and the latest developments regarding the outbreak. According to reports in the press, the European Commission attaches great importance to the stocks of protection masks in EU member states for citizens, but is prioritising healthcare workers and patients with coronavirus. Cyprus’ Minister of Health, Constantinos Ioannou, is expected to raise the issue of adequate supplies of masks and sanitizers for smaller states like Cyprus.
The Republic of Cyprus government has also installed thermal cameras at Larnaca and Paphos airports to scan passengers for coronavirus symptoms, but according to health minister, Constantinos Ioannou, who spoke on Thursday, it is not planning to use them at crossing points because they would not be effective. As it was explained, the European Centre for Disease Control informed the government that using thermal cameras in open air areas, where all crossing points are located, was not recommended because there was a big margin of error of up to two degrees. At the same time, in the political coverage on the National Council (meeting between all Cyprus’ parties) that took place yesterday, it was revealed that President Nicos Anastasiades claimed that the reason for closing four out of the nine crossing points leading to the non-government controlled areas was the incapacity to find extra nurses to be monitoring the people who cross at all crossing points. The crossing points will remain closed until Monday, but the decision will be under constant evaluation.
Information on the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 is available on the Press and Information Office dedicated website www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus.