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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland reports new single-day high for COVID-19 cases

04.08.2020 10:40
Poland reported a new record daily rise in coronavirus infections on Tuesday, confirming 680 new cases, the most since the pandemic hit the country in early March.
Audio
Photo:
Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

A total of 48,149 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Poland since the start of the pandemic, with 1,738 deaths from the COVID-19 respiratory disease so far, officials said on Tuesday.

The number of new virus cases rose by a record 680 from the previous day, while the death toll increased by six, according to public health authorities.

Of the new cases confirmed on Tuesday, 222 were in the southern Silesia coal region, where infections have spiked in mines.

Meanwhile, 94 new cases were reported in the western region of Wielkopolskie and 88 in the southern Małopolskie province, which includes the historic city of Kraków.

The country's central Mazowieckie region, which contains the national capital Warsaw, had the fourth-highest number of new infections confirmed on Tuesday, at 49.

The latest deaths in Poland’s coronavirus outbreak are four men aged 60 to 91 and two women aged 87 and 90, the Polish health ministry said in a tweet.

It added that most of these patients had pre-existing medical conditions.

On Monday, the Polish health ministry reported one death and 575 new coronavirus infections nationwide, compared with 10 deaths and 548 new cases a day earlier.

The health ministry announced on Tuesday morning that 1,859 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals nationwide, 65 of them on ventilators, with a further 98,875 people quarantined for possible coronavirus exposure, and 8,499 under epidemiological supervision.

Meanwhile, 35,056 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 last week.

To compare, Belgium has 847 deaths per million residents, according to new data released by the Polish health ministry last 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 month 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.

Plans for renewed measures after spike

Poland last week reported rising numbers of new coronavirus cases for three days in a row, with infections hitting a previous daily record of 658 on Saturday.

Officials warned that some restrictions could be reinstated if cases continued to rise as a result of people flouting public-health guidelines.

Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Monday that curbs would be reimposed on weddings, which have been linked to multiple outbreaks in recent weeks.

Poland's Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski. Poland's Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski. Photo: Polish Radio

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info

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