The members of the Parliamentary Audit Committee, which examined the suspension of the operation of the shopping centers and their stores on Thursday, were not satisfied with the answers of the Epidemiologists.
The question that was repeatedly asked to the members of the Advisory Group of the Ministry of Health was specifically why the commercial stores of Cyprus (Mall) were closed and at the same time other supermarkets remained open.
The answers of the experts, however, did not satisfy the deputies, who speak of “irrational” explanations, while they characterized as “unacceptable” the photos submitted during the session and depicting the crowd, which took place during the holidays, in the other large department stores, which remained open.
They relied on mobility to close the Malls
The explanations given by the epidemiologists before the Control Committee are that the decision to close the shopping centers was based on mobility, since as they said “mobility is the number one of the spread of the virus”.
“Mobility when you go to a store, which theoretically has a limit of square meters and number of people is more manageable. In a mall, where many people enter many stores and from different and many entrances the mobility is not manageable. This was the reason for this differentiation “, said the Professor of Pathology at the Medical School of the University of Cyprus and Associate Professor of Pathology and Infectious Diseases of the Medical School of the University of Patras, Dr. George Panos.
In his statements, after the session, Dr. Panos stated that when the measures were taken there was an obligatory obligation, since there was a very high percentage of positivity and there were many patients who ended up in the Intensive Care Units.
He added that the decision to close the malls had to be taken to stop the spread of the disease.
“You should know that this disease is spread by mobility. It is the key word. The more we reduce mobility, the less dispersion there is. This is why Lockdowns are taken in the last instance. This also happened in Cyprus. “Cyprus has endured much longer than many other European countries,” he said.
He also said that unfortunately Christmas and New Year were a “bad business situation” for the closure, however, he noted “it was imperative to allow the country's hospitals to be able to manage patients without problems, thus ensuring the better health of the population “.
Creating conditions of unfair competition between companies
The representative of Mall, George Georgiou, expressed the belief that the decision of the government “was not correct”, since as he said “conditions of unfair competition have been created between companies in Cyprus and in addition the health image of Cyprus has deteriorated”.
He called for a restart of the economy and the start of operations as the government handles matters as they do in the rest of Europe, where shops either open all together or close all together.
He noted that each Mall pays about 30 thousand every month to do inspections, while adhering to the strictest health protocols.
“When they closed, we sent a letter to both the Minister of Health and the President of the Republic, proposing a series of additional measures, up to the employment of overtime police officers, to confirm that all health measures are observed. “Unfortunately we did not receive an answer,” he said.
No logical answer from the Epidemiologists, says Z. Koulias
The Chairman of the Audit Committee, Zacharias Koulias, said that “some in the middle of the holidays turned the stone with millions in a specific direction”, to add that “it is questionable why some decided not to operate stores like the Malls and to allow the operation in department stores “other, which he named.
“In these specific stores for days it became inseparable. And none of those gentlemen who want to protect us from the coronavirus were moved. These were the implementation of the protocols. It is unacceptable and we did not receive a logical answer from the epidemiologists during the session “, he added.
He went on to say that “in the Advisory Group there are reputable people who know their job, make suggestions, but in the end those who decide are some officials of the Ministry of Health”.
Managing the pandemic is not an easy task, says A. Dimitriou
DISY MP Annita Dimitriou said that she fully understands the concerns and concerns that exist or have been created, to express the certainty that “having to manage the pandemic is not an easy task.”
As he said, “the framework is being set by the Epidemiological Group to the government, in order to take political decisions, taking into account the peculiarities of Cyprus and of course ensuring economic viability, but also the protection of public safety and health.”
Regarding the Mall and the unfavorable position, in which they were in front of other stores, he said: “It is very easy to judge the effectiveness of the measures afterwards and everyone needs calm and patience”.
E. Charalambidou spoke about the “deafening” absence of the Government from the session
AKEL MP, Irini Charalambidou, said that “the absence of political leadership in the Commission was deafening”, noting that “epidemiologists can not answer for answers that must be given by those who make political decisions.”
He said that “the photos presented to the Commission were extremely offensive to the work of the Police”, noting that “the only way to open the market and make the economy flourish again is vaccinations”.
“We have to take examples from neighboring countries, which in a very short time and while we were going out on the channels and saying that there would be no second wave, at the same time our neighboring country was negotiating with pharmaceutical companies,” he said.
He noted that “if our population was vaccinated today, the market could be opened”, adding that “what decisions have been taken so far will be judged at the end of the day”.
A strange dimension and distinction was created, says G. Perdikis
The MP of the Movement of Ecologists – Citizens' Cooperation, George Perdikis, said that “the Malls were closed and at the same time supermarkets were left open, creating a strange dimension and distinction”.
“It emerged from the discussion that some of the measures taken were not balanced, were not fair and were not fully scientifically substantiated, with the result that they affect the market in an unequal way,” he said.
He added that “the reactions of some groups of professionals to these measures, which smell of injustice, are justified, an injustice that is easy to say and see, but there are employees who live it in a tragic way.”
Finally, he said, the government should consider ways to “compensate those groups of workers and companies that have been unequally and unjustly affected by these measures, which have not been scientifically substantiated.”