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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland reports 4,622 new coronavirus cases, 75 more deaths

11.01.2021 10:40
Poland on Monday reported 4,622 new coronavirus infections and 75 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases to 1,390,385 and fatalities to 31,264.
A COVID-19 vaccination site in the north-central Polish city of Bydgoszcz.
A COVID-19 vaccination site in the north-central Polish city of Bydgoszcz.Photo: PAP/Tytus Żmijewski

Of the new cases confirmed on Monday, 627 were in the central region of Mazowieckie, which contains the national capital Warsaw.

Meanwhile, 570 new infections were reported in the northwestern province of Zachodniopomorskie, which is home to the major city of Szczecin.

The northern province of Pomorskie, which includes the Baltic port city of Gdańsk, had the third-highest number of new infections confirmed by officials on Monday, at 509.

The latest deaths in Poland’s coronavirus outbreak are 65 people with pre-existing medical conditions and 10 who died directly because of COVID-19, the Polish health ministry said in a tweet.

On SundayPoland confirmed 177 deaths and 9,410 new coronavirus infections nationwide, compared with 438 deaths and 10,548 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.

16,681 in hospitals, 146,685 quarantined

The health ministry announced on Monday morning that 16,681 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals nationwide, 1,605 of them on ventilators, with a further 146,685 people quarantined for possible coronavirus exposure, and 5,928 under epidemiological supervision.

Meanwhile, 1,130,460 people have now recovered from COVID-19 throughout the country, including 7,142 over the last 24 hours, the health ministry also said.

A nation in 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 latest 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, 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 771 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 1,696 deaths per million residents since the start of the pandemic, according to data released by the Polish health ministry last week, while Italy has 1,253 and the Czech Republic reports 1,137.

Vaccinations under way

Meanwhile, a 52-year-old Warsaw hospital nurse on 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, the latest shipment of 360,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech reached Poland by air.

A total of 200,022 people have been vaccinated for COVID-19 across the country so far, according to data released by officials on Sunday, January 10.

At the end of last month, the government 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.

In the first quarter of this year, a total of 2.94 million people are expected to be vaccinated for COVID-19 throughout the country.

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

Citizens over 80 will be able to sign up for COVID-19 shots from January 15.

Poland plans to spend PLN 3 billion (EUR 675 million, USD 820 million) 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.

Just over 6,000 vaccination sites will be available to citizens as the country rolls out its COVID-19 vaccination program, according to the Polish prime minister's top aide, Michał DworczykInitially, the government planned to set up around 8,000 such sites nationwide.

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-BioNTech, AstraZenecaModernaCureVacSanofi-GSK, and Johnson & Johnson, taking its potential stock of COVID-19 shots to around 2.3 billion, according to European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen.

The European Medicines Agency on January 6 gave the green light to Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, the second shot it has approved as countries step up inoculation efforts amid fears of more contagious strains of the coronavirus.

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 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.

An 82-year-old British dialysis patient on January 4 became the first person to get the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot outside of a trial.

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info, Reuters