COVID19: Ban on routine hospital surgeries lifted

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Cyprus’ Health Ministry announced that a freeze on non-emergency surgeries in the private and public sectors would be lifted on Wednesday.

The Cabinet approved the resumption of scheduled non-urgent surgeries and patient admissions following a proposal presented by Minister of Health Michalis Hadjipantelas.

Non-essential surgeries were put on ice in mid-July when hospitals were instructed to free up beds to accommodate a rise in COVID-19 patients.

Following a surge of COVID-19 cases peaking at 1,152 in July, Hadjipantelas issued a decree to all hospitals in the public and private sector to postpone all routine operations; private hospitals have been told to limit their capacity to 70% and ICUs to 60%.

Announcing the decision reversing the July ban, the Health Ministry said the “improved epidemiological picture of the last few days in Cyprus, as well as the reduction and stabilisation of the number of patients treated with COVID-19, allow for the resumption, from September 8, of non-emergency surgeries and patient admissions”.

According to the current, drawn up by the State Health Services Organisation, some 165 beds in state hospitals will remain available to treat patients with COVID.

In this framework, the Council of Ministers approved an increase in the maximum bed occupancy in private hospitals from 70% to 80%, excluding the beds of the Intensive Care Units, for which the occupancy limit is increased from 60% to 70%.

The Health Ministry said the decision aims to facilitate hospitals returning to normalcy as much as possible to ensure that all patients have access to healthcare and to ensure the viability of the General Health System.