Home quarantine criteria revealed
Taken from this week's issue
By GÜLDEREN ÖZTANSU
HOME quarantine plans moved a step closer this week as the government unveiled a list of people who could be eligible for the scheme, based on health conditions and other criteria.
No date has been announced for the introduction of the new system although Health Minister Ünal Üstel, who first revealed details of the plan last week, as previously reported by Cyprus Today, said it will be implemented “soon”.
He has been in talks with mobile phone operators to set up the technology required to ensure that people do not breach quarantine rules. It was not clear from the latest announcement if home quarantine will be available to those arriving from abroad, or only those who are close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 while in the TRNC.
“The Health Ministry home quarantine evaluation committee has given an opinion that home quarantine can be applied to people and patients with the following criteria,” a statement said.
“Elderly people over 75 years old; children under six years old; atherosclerotic heart disease, heart failure; patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy; cancer patients – those who have received chemotherapy and radiotherapy in the last 6 months; those who have had a minor operation within the last month; those who have had a major operation within the last three months; people with physical and mental disabilities; people with neurodegenerative diseases; autism spectrum; psychiatric cases diagnosed for more than the last three months (a report and treatment should be arranged by a specialist psychiatrist); those living with a colostomy bag and a permanent urinary catheter; people with last-stage renal disease who need dialysis; organ and stem cell transplant patients; and pregnancy.”
Mr Üstel also made announcements regarding the Covid-19 vaccination rollout, stating that more vaccines are expected to arrive from Turkey.
Last week we reported that 8,000 patients with chronic health conditions and over-65s were still waiting to receive their first jab and were given priority from the last batch of 20,000 vaccines that arrived from Turkey earlier this month.
On Thursday Mr Üstel said: “Our vaccination programme will continue according to the criteria we have received from the World Health Organization, especially for patients with severe chronic health problems and over-65s.
“The demand for vaccines continues to come to us from [different] sectors. . . We have established 27 new vaccination venues.”
Mr Üstel added that the tender process for a new state hospital in Girne has been “accelerated”, adding: “If it is completed, it can also serve as a second pandemic hospital for our country and Girne Akçiçek Hospital can be moved to the new hospital after the pandemic.
“We are aiming to stir up the economy in April. We will first consider the health of our people and ensure that the wheels of the economy start turning.”
Meanwhile a new system has been put in place by the ministry for Covid-19 patients who have recovered and completed 14 days of self-isolation.
According to a written statement, they need to book an appointment at the Emergency (Pandemic) Hospital’s Ateş (Fever) Polyclinic for a check-up.
Appointments slots will be given between 12.30pm and 7.30pm seven days a week, by calling 1101.
An emergency phone line for the Emergency (Pandemic) Hospital has also been put in place, which is 0392 612 0500. Callers can reach the A, B and C blocks of the hospital, administrative staff and its intensive care unit. This will enable the relatives of Covid-19 patients to obtain detailed information on the condition of their loved ones.
Meanwhile a curfew is in place this weekend, until 5am on Monday morning. Only businesses deemed essential, such as supermarkets, bakeries, butchers, greengrocers, petrol stations and pharmacies are open today, while “all businesses and activities will be closed” tomorrow, except for “pharmacies, bakeries and petrol stations” a Health Ministry statement said late last Friday night. At the time of going to print the Council of Ministers were meeting to review the coronavirus measures.