Cyprus’ third-age observatory said on Friday that elderly people in retirement homes were at risk from nurses who also work at the state hospitals and have been dealing with COVID-19.
The observatory sent a letter to the health minister Costantinos Ioannou and labour minister Zeta Emilianidou to take measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in nursing homes.
In his statements to the media on Friday, the president of the observatory, Dimos Antoniou said residents who were elderly with underlying conditions would die if they got infected.
“The issue is very serious and should be examined by the relevant authorities, from whom we did not have any update as to what is going on now in our nursing homes,” he said.
Some homes banned all visits as soon as the first cases of coronavirus were recorded on the island on March 9, with the rest following their example when directions from the welfare services arrived via email on March 16.
Relatives of the residents said however that banning visits was not sufficient to protect the health of their loved ones when they could also be endangered by staff.
Antoniou referred to international examples of mass deaths at care homes and said protocols needed to be implemented immediately.
Cyprus has 6,000 elderly people residing in nursing homes.