A total of 45,688 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Poland since the start of the pandemic, with 1,716 deaths from the COVID-19 respiratory disease so far, officials said on Friday.
The number of new virus cases rose by a record 657 from the previous day, while the death toll increased by seven, according to public health authorities.
Of the new cases confirmed on Friday, 227 were in the southern Silesia coal region, where infections have spiked in mines.
Meanwhile, 104 new cases were reported in the country's central Mazowieckie region, which includes the national capital Warsaw.
The southern province of Małopolskie, which contains the historic city of Kraków, recorded the third-highest number of new infections on Thursday, at 77.
The latest deaths in Poland’s coronavirus outbreak are four men aged 59 to 80 and three women aged 79 to 91, the Polish health ministry said in a tweet.
It added that most of these patients had pre-existing medical conditions.
Coronavirus in Poland: An intensive care unit for COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański
On Thursday, the Polish health ministry reported 15 deaths and a previous daily high of 615 new coronavirus infections, compared with 12 deaths and 512 new cases a day earlier.
The health ministry announced on Friday morning that 1,778 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals nationwide, 72 of them on ventilators, with a further 97,189 people quarantined for possible coronavirus exposure, and 8,069 under epidemiological supervision.
Meanwhile, 33,987 people have now recovered from COVID-19 throughout the country, the health ministry also said.
44 COVID-19 deaths per million
With 44 COVID-19 deaths per million population, Poland remains far less affected by the coronavirus epidemic than many other countries in Europe, according to a set of data released by the country’s health ministry this week.
To compare, Belgium has 847 deaths per million residents, according to new data released by the Polish health ministry on Tuesday, while Britain has 674 and Spain reports 608.
The list of countries severely hit by the coronavirus also includes Italy, with 581 deaths per million population, Sweden with 564, and France with 463, according to the Polish health ministry.
The neighbouring Czech Republic has a lower proportion of coronavirus deaths than Poland, at 35 per million residents, while Croatia, the newest European Union member, has 34, five more than Lithuania, and 15 more than Greece, the new data found.
'State of epidemic'
Poland's first SARS-CoV-2 infection was confirmed by authorities on March 4, while the country's first coronavirus fatality was announced on March 12.
Poland later that month declared a "state of epidemic" and temporarily closed its borders to non-residents in a move to curb the spread of the illness.
International scheduled flights and passenger rail connections were suspended on March 15.
In another effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the government banned public gatherings and closed all pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Health and government officials urged Poles to stay home and practice social distancing.
People were ordered to wear masks or other face coverings when out in public.
Easing of restrictions
Some restrictions were relaxed in late April, and hotels and shopping malls were allowed to reopen in early May as the country moved to the next phase of easing its coronavirus lockdown.
Hairdressers, beauty parlours, restaurants, bars and cafes were allowed to reopen to customers in mid-May.
Poland relaxed face mask rules at the end of May, and it also allowed public gatherings of up to 150 people.
In another move to ease coronavirus measures, the government lifted restrictions on how many people can gather in places such as retail outlets, restaurants and churches though face coverings and social distancing are still required.
Nurseries and preschools throughout the country were given the green light to resume operations.
Poland also reopened outdoor sports areas and allowed football matches to be played behind closed doors in late May.
Culture and entertainment venues as well as indoor sports facilities were allowed to restart their operations from June 6.
Polish football and speedway stadiums reopened to spectators at 25 percent capacity on June 19.
Elementary schools began reopening to young children at the end of May as the country lifted more COVID-19 safety measures.
But most schools at all levels of education stayed shut to students until the end of the academic year on June 26, providing distance learning instead of in-person classes.
Poland reopened its borders with its European Union neighbours last month.
The country reopened its skies for domestic flights on June 1, while some international flights to destinations within Europe were allowed to resume later in the month.
Poland in early July resumed flights to a number of non-European Union countries, including Britain and Canada.
More curbs lifted
The government at the end of last week further eased the country’s coronavirus restrictions, allowing larger crowds at sporting and cultural events.
Sports stadiums were given the green light to host fans up to 50 percent of their normal capacity, up from 25 percent under previous rules.
Poland also relaxed its social distancing measures as of July 25, recommending that people remain 1.5 metres away from others to maintain safety, down from a previous guideline of 2 metres.
Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info
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