Cyprus is not only among the biggest testers of COVID-19, but it is also the only country that has continued to track, trace and isolate through the pandemic, said Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou.
The government’s tough lockdown laws combined with aggressive testing from the outset has ensured Cyprus contained the virus with very few deaths (17) and under 1,000 cases.
Cyprus has already tested 12% of its population for COVID-19 since the outbreak in March, the Health Minister said.
Until May 28, a total of 106,000 tests have been conducted, that is 12,094 per 100,000 people with Cyprus ranking second to Malta in the EU and high up on the world map.
Ioannou, addressing the parliamentary committee on health, briefed MPs on the testing process, adding that Cyprus is the only country which has followed the procedure of tracking down contacts of people who have contracted coronavirus.
He said a total of €6,766,000 has been spent on diagnostic tests, adding that as time goes by the cost of tests will be less.
A test in Cyprus costs €65 and in Romania, it’s €63, the cheapest in the EU.
Ioannou said Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides is looking into the number of contracts which were signed during the pandemic, while free diagnostic tests will be made available to every sector of the economy which resumes operations.
Ioannou said that actions to contain the pandemic started in Cyprus on January 23 in cooperation with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and on the basis of guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation.
He told MPs that, initially, the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics was the only organization which could secure sufficient quantities of tests at a cost of €100 each.