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English Section

Poland reports 4,432 new coronavirus cases, 42 more deaths

04.01.2021 10:40
Poland on Monday reported 4,432 new coronavirus infections and 42 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases to 1,322,947 and fatalities to 29,161.
A nurse holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Gdańsk, northern Poland. Frontline healthcare workers are first in line to be inoculated as the country rolls out a mass vaccination drive to combat the coronavirus.
A nurse holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Gdańsk, northern Poland. Frontline healthcare workers are first in line to be inoculated as the country rolls out a mass vaccination drive to combat the coronavirus.Photo: PAP/Adam Warżawa

Of the new cases confirmed on Monday, 746 were in the central region of Mazowieckie, which includes the national capital Warsaw.

Meanwhile, 623 new infections were reported in the northern province of Pomorskie, which is home to the Baltic port city of Gdańsk.

The north-central province of Kujawsko-Pomorskie, which contains the historic city of Toruń, had the third-highest number of new infections confirmed by officials on Monday, at 484.

The latest deaths in Poland’s coronavirus outbreak are 34 people with pre-existing medical conditions and eight who died directly because of COVID-19, the Polish health ministry said in a tweet.

On Sunday, Poland confirmed 61 deaths and 5,739 new coronavirus infections nationwide, compared with 102 deaths and 6,945 fresh cases a day earlier.

On November 25, the country reported its highest daily toll of 674 deaths related to the coronavirus.

On November 7, the Polish health ministry confirmed 27,875 new single-day cases, the most since the pandemic hit the country in early March.

17,130 in hospitals, 132,060 quarantined

The health ministry announced on Monday morning that 17,130 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals nationwide, 1,642 of them on ventilators, with a further 132,060 people quarantined for possible coronavirus exposure, and 6,465 under epidemiological supervision.

Meanwhile, 1,069,554 people have now recovered from COVID-19 throughout the country, including 6,461 over the last 24 hours, the health ministry also said.

Poland goes into 'national quarantine'

Poland on December 28 entered a three-week "national quarantine" as it struggles to contain the coronavirus.

Shopping malls have been ordered to close until January 17, though some retail outlets, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, are allowed to stay open.

Hotels and ski slopes will be shut to the general public throughout that period, and anyone arriving in Poland by public transportation must undergo a 10-day quarantine.

Second wave hits hard

The new set of curbs comes after tougher measures to battle COVID-19 took effect across Poland in November following a surge in cases amid a second wave of the pandemic.

As part of those restrictions, theatres, cinemas, museums, galleries and gyms were told to close temporarily.

Meanwhile, schools and universities throughout the country have returned to distance learning.

Under restrictions announced in October, 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 in October introduced special shopping hours for people aged over 60 between 10 a.m. and noon.

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 set up a network of temporary hospitals to treat coronavirus patients.

Meanwhile, those testing positive for COVID-19 are being monitored remotely from their homes using special finger-clip devices called pulse oximeters, under an initiative announced by the country’s health minister at the end of November.

Warnings of 'third wave'

Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska told the media in late November that Poland was preparing to handle a possible "third wave" of the coronavirus pandemic at the start of 2021.

Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski warned last month that "the spectre of a third wave is very real."

Poland's Health Minister Adam Niedzielski. Poland's Health Minister Adam Niedzielski. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

With 718 COVID-19 deaths per million population, Poland remains less affected by the coronavirus epidemic than some other countries in Europe, recent statistics have shown.

To compare, Belgium has 1,653 deaths per million residents since the start of the pandemic, according to data released by the Polish health ministry last week, while Italy has 1,198 and Spain reports 1,072.

Vaccinations under way

Meanwhile, a 52-year-old Warsaw hospital nurse on Sunday, December 27, became the first Pole to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The first batch of 10,000 vaccine doses arrived in the country a day earlier.

On Monday, December 28, a new shipment of 300,000 doses reached Poland by air, followed by a further 360,000 doses delivered a week later.

The government has launched a media campaign called Szczepimy Się (Let's Get Vaccinated) to encourage Poles to get COVID-19 shots.

The immunization effort began after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on December 21 recommended conditional approval for a coronavirus vaccine produced by US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for use across the European Union.

The decision by the EU regulator was subsequently greenlighted by the bloc’s executive, the European Commission.

Polish officials have said they expect nearly 1.5 million coronavirus vaccine doses to reach their country by the end of January.

Frontline healthcare workers are first in line to be vaccinated, followed by pensioners in nursing homes, people over 60, police, soldiers and teachers.

Citizens who are not in priority groups will be able to sign up for COVID-19 shots from January 15.

Poland plans to spend PLN 3 billion (EUR 675m, USD 820m) on over 60 million doses of coronavirus vaccines under a national inoculation programme adopted by the government.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced last month that his government had secured vaccines for the Polish population from six leading international drug makers.

Around 8,000 vaccination sites are expected to be available to citizens nationwide as the country rolls out its COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The first vaccines for the coronavirus were administered in Poland on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, as part of a coordinated rollout across the European Union. The first vaccines for the coronavirus were administered in Poland on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, as part of a coordinated rollout across the European Union. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

The European Union, of which Poland is part, has struck deals to secure vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTechAstraZenecaModernaCureVacSanofi-GSK, and Johnson & Johnson, taking its potential stock of COVID-19 shots to nearly 2 billion, news agencies have reported.

The European Medicines Agency is expected to produce a scientific opinion on Moderna's vaccine seeking regulatory approval on January 6.

Britain on December 2 became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for general use, with the first shots administered to citizens six days later.

The UK on Wednesday, December 30, became the first country worldwide to approve a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University as it battles a new, highly contagious strain of the virus.

Hundreds of thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine are expected to be rolled out in the country from the start of this week, after the shot was approved by regulators, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.


Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info, Reuters