A total of 51,167 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Poland since the start of the pandemic, with 1,800 deaths from the COVID-19 respiratory disease so far, officials said on Saturday.
The number of new virus cases rose by 843 from the previous day, while the death toll increased by 13, according to public health authorities.
Of the new cases confirmed on Saturday, 208 were in the southern Silesia coal region, where infections have spiked among miners and their families.
Meanwhile, 131 new cases were reported in the country's central Mazowieckie region, which contains the national capital Warsaw.
The southern province of Małopolskie, which includes the historic city of Kraków, had the third-highest number of new infections confirmed on Saturday, at 124.
The latest deaths in Poland’s coronavirus outbreak are 10 men, aged 59 to 89, and three women, aged 64, 67 and 80, the Polish health ministry said in a tweet.
It added that most of these patients had pre-existing medical conditions.
On Friday, the Polish health ministry reported 13 deaths and a previous record high of 809 new coronavirus infections nationwide, compared with 18 deaths and 726 new cases a day earlier.
The health ministry announced on Saturday morning that 1,928 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals nationwide, 72 of them on ventilators, with a further 107,229 people quarantined for possible coronavirus exposure, and 9,256 under epidemiological supervision.
Meanwhile, 36,403 people have now recovered from COVID-19 throughout the country, the health ministry also said.
46 COVID-19 deaths per million
With 46 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 this week.
To compare, Belgium has 849 deaths per million residents, according to new data released by the Polish health ministry on Tuesday, while Britain has 680 and Spain reports 609.
The list of countries severely hit by the coronavirus also includes Italy, with 582 deaths per million population, Sweden with 568, and France with 464, according to the Polish health ministry.
Croatia, the newest European Union member, has a lower proportion of coronavirus deaths than Poland, at 37 per million residents, while the Czech Republic has 36, seven more than Lithuania, and 16 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 in June.
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.
Renewed measures after spike
Poland last week began reporting rising numbers of new coronavirus cases, with infections hitting a previous daily high of 658 on August 1.
Amid a continued spike in infections, Poland at the end of this week reimposed stricter COVID-19 measures in some of its worst affected areas.
In a first step, restrictions were temporarily reinstated in 19 counties with the highest increases in new cases.
These include areas in the Silesia coal region in the south, the neighbouring Małopolskie province, and the western province of Wielkopolskie, where a number of new virus hot spots have emerged recently.
Depending on the severity of outbreaks, renewed “red” and “yellow” measures include obligatory wearing of face masks outdoors, curbs on sporting facilities and cultural venues, and restrictions for those using public transportation.
Authorities have also limited the number of people who are able to attend weddings, funerals and other events in worst-hit areas.
Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski told reporters earlier this week that Poland was likely to see a further rise in confirmed coronavirus cases during the next several days amid stepped-up testing.
Poland's Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski. Photo: Polish Radio
Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info