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UPDATE: Poland to hand out free face masks as epidemic picks up speed

03.03.2021 15:50
The Polish government will hand out free face masks to regions most hit by the coronavirus, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Wednesday, warning that a third wave of the epidemic was “accelerating.”
Health Minister Adam Niedzielski
Health Minister Adam Niedzielski   Photo: PAP/Marcin Gadomski

Ten million masks will go to the Pomerania region in northern Poland, and 5 million to the less populated Warmińsko-Mazurskie region in the north-east, which Niedzielski said is the most affected by the virus.

Niedzielski told reporters that temporary hospitals would be opened in nine provinces, including in Pomerania, under a decision taken at a meeting of a government crisis management team.

‘Third wave accelerating’

"The third wave is accelerating,” he told journalists, adding:  "We are in a very difficult situation".

Poland on Wednesday reported almost 15,700 new coronavirus infections, up by more than 3,500 on a week ago.

Under a new set of coronavirus restrictions that took effect on February 27, Poles are no longer allowed to use scarves, bandanas and plastic visors instead of masks to cover their face in public.

Image: Hank Williams/Pixabay Image: Hank Williams/Pixabay

Meanwhile, in a move designed to counter a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, a range of restrictions on public life were reintroduced in the Warmińsko-Mazurskie region.

Hotels, shopping malls, cinemas, theatres, museums and swimming pools there have been ordered to shut, while young schoolchildren in the region have returned to remote classes.

Pandemic restrictions in the rest of the country will remain unchanged until at least March 14 following an easing of containment measures earlier this year, officials said.

Poland on Wednesday reported 15,698 new coronavirus infections and 309 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases during the pandemic to 1,735,406 and fatalities to 44,360.


Source: PAP/IAR