Cyprus has secured enough chloroquine quantities to treat 240,000 people, assuring the country will not run out of the COVID-19 drug while 9 million face masks are on order, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said.
Ioannou said the government intends to implement a measure for the use of masks by the population, announcing that the Health Ministry has launched a tender for the provision of 9 million masks, at a cost of €3 mln.
He said the results of the tender are expected within this week.
Ten tons of chloroquine has arrived to meet the needs of Cyprus and Israel, Ioannou said.
The treatment protocol both for adults and children has been approved, and Cyprus is one of the first countries to approve the drug as part of its protocol.
Ioannou said there was a shortage of masks in hospitals and pharmacies these specific masks were not able to be manufactured in Cyprus due to their specifications.
He said the WHO right now does not recommend that it is necessary to give out masks to the population and that only two countries in the EU have done so.
He gave the order for a tender to be launched for the provision of 9 million masks at a cost of €3 million “and I am expecting the results of this tender, which should be completed within the week.”
The government’s intention is to go ahead with the implementation of this measure as well, he said.
Ioannou also said that protective equipment in public hospitals is sufficient.
There had been shortages worldwide, he pointed out, adding that in the last three weeks when China’s market opened up the government made a “huge effort to secure quantities.”
The first cargo arrived last week, he said, adding that the next cargo is expected next Friday and that “we have bought equipment worth €15 mln, which will be enough for the next 6 to 7 months.”
Ioannou said there is a large percentage of the population that contract coronavirus but do not show symptoms.
He said that the government has decided to proceed with 20,000 tests in the next 20 days on people in both the public and the private sector who are more exposed to the virus.
He noted that so far, in terms of its size of the population, Cyprus is second or third globally in tests performed.