New coronavirus variant less severe and no plan to close schools - TRNC Minister of Health

TRNC Health Minister Ali Pilli said on Monday that January was a critical month in the fight against Covid-19, particularly with the arrival of the more transmissible Omicron variant.

Speaking on BRT, Pilli reminded that the most effective method of protection against the new variant was wearing face masks.

“Despite the fact this new variant is more transmissible it seems that it causes less severe illness. The number of patients admitted to ICU has dropped significantly,” he said.

The health minister said that he expected a drop in cases as of January if everyone exercised caution and adhered to the measures.

He pointed out just because the new variant caused less severe illness did not mean people should let their guard down as the sheer number of patients could still cause a burden on the health system.

“We currently have 11 patients in ICU, three of whom are intubated. We have 25 empty beds. Of the 11, eight are unvaccinated while the remaining three did not have their booster shots done,” he added.

Explaining that a total of 740,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines had been administered in the TRNC to date, Pilli said that 75-76 per cent of the adult population had been vaccinated while the same percentage had received booster jabs.

Asked to comment on the situation at the schools, Pilli said that the exam period was approaching which will be followed by the two week February break.

“We are currently not thinking about closing schools. The situation at our schools is not bad when we compare ourselves to other countries,” he added.


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