A total of 924,422 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Poland since the pandemic began, and 14,988 have died in connection with the COVID-19 respiratory disease so far, public health officials announced.
Of the new cases confirmed by officials on Wednesday, 1,941 were in the southern coal mining region of Silesia.
Meanwhile, 1,577 new infections were reported in the central region of Mazowieckie, which contains the national capital Warsaw.
The western province of Wielkopolskie, which is home to the major city of Poznań, had the third-highest number of new infections confirmed by officials on Wednesday, at 1,402.
The latest deaths in Poland’s coronavirus outbreak are 522 people with pre-existing medical conditions and 152 who died directly because of COVID-19, the Polish health ministry said in a tweet.
On Tuesday, Poland confirmed 540 deaths and 10,139 new coronavirus infections nationwide, compared with 156 deaths and 15,002 fresh cases a day earlier.
On Thursday, November 19, the country reported 637 new deaths, its second-highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic, and 23,975 fresh coronavirus infections.
On Saturday, November 7, the Polish health ministry reported a record 27,875 new single-day cases, the most since the pandemic hit the country in early March.
22,119 in hospitals, 338,769 quarantined
The health ministry announced on Wednesday morning that 22,119 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals nationwide, 2,073 of them on ventilators, with a further 338,769 people quarantined for possible coronavirus exposure, and 18,592 under epidemiological supervision.
Meanwhile, 469,527 people have now recovered from COVID-19 throughout the country, including 14,810 over the last 24 hours, the health ministry also said.
Second wave hits hard
Tougher measures to battle COVID-19 came into effect across Poland earlier this month following a surge in cases amid a second wave of the pandemic.
Shopping malls have been ordered to limit their operations, though some retail outlets, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and drugstores, are allowed to stay open to customers.
Hotels are only able to take in guests on business trips. Theatres, cinemas, museums and galleries have been told to close temporarily.
The government announced on Saturday, November 21, that restaurants, cinemas, theaters and gyms would remain closed until at least December 27.
Schools and universities throughout the country have returned to distance learning.
Under restrictions announced last month, children under 16 are only allowed to leave their homes under the supervision of an adult between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, pubs, restaurants and cafes are only allowed to provide take-aways and delivery orders.
Gatherings of more than five people have been forbidden, though people who live or work together are exempt from the rule.
Also, the government has appealed to people aged over 70 not to leave their homes unless necessary.
Poland last month introduced special shopping hours for people aged over 60 between 10 a.m. and noon.
Amid a spike in coronavirus cases, strict new rules came into effect in the country last month under which everyone is required to wear a face covering when going out in public.
Beginning October 10, people must cover their mouths and noses when outdoors in public places as well as in most indoor environments nationwide.
Amid an escalating outbreak, the country has decided to set up a network of temporary hospitals to treat coronavirus patients.
With 364 COVID-19 deaths per million population, Poland remains less affected by the coronavirus epidemic than some other countries in Europe, new statistics have shown.
To compare, Belgium has 1,345 deaths per million residents since the start of the pandemic, according to data released by the Polish health ministry this week, while Spain has 922 and Italy reports 835.
Vaccines on the horizon
Poland’s prime minister said earlier this month that millions of vaccines against the coronavirus were likely to reach his country next spring as part of a European deal with drug makers.
The European Union this month struck a deal to buy up to 300 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine from US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday, November 13, that his government has set up a working group with experts from Pfizer amid efforts to make a COVID-19 vaccine available to Poles as quickly as possible.
In mid-November, Morawiecki also talked with executives from global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca as part of efforts to secure a COVID-19 vaccine for Poland, state news agency PAP has reported.
Meanwhile, US drug maker Moderna announced last Monday that its experimental vaccine was 94.5 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial.
The European Commission on Tuesday, November 17, authorized a deal with German biotech firm CureVac to secure up to 405 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine for European citizens.
AstraZeneca said on Monday its vaccine for the novel coronavirus could be around 90 percent effective without any serious side effects, news agencies reported.
The European Commission on Tuesday announced a deal for up to 160 million doses of US firm Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine candidate, taking the EU's potential stock of COVID-19 shots to nearly 2 billion.
Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info, Reuters