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English Section

Poland braces for omicron spike: health minister

05.01.2022 13:35
Poland’s health minister on Wednesday said the country was bracing for a peak in COVID-19 omicron cases in late January when up to 60,000 hospital beds could be needed. 
Polands Health Minister Adam Niedzielski on Wednesday said the country was bracing for a peak in COVID-19 omicron cases in late January when up to 60,000 hospital beds could be needed.
Poland’s Health Minister Adam Niedzielski on Wednesday said the country was bracing for a peak in COVID-19 omicron cases in late January when up to 60,000 hospital beds could be needed.PAP/Wojciech Olkuśnik

Adam Niedzielski told a news conference that “for the past five to six days, we have been witnessing a constant surge in infections."

However, "this situation is being treated as an anomaly rather than a change of trend ... following the festive period and a growing number of coronavirus tests, among other factors," he said.  

“A very similar phenomenon occurred last year,” he added.

Niedzielski told reporters that because the surge was "an anomaly," for now the government would not introduce new COVID-19 restrictions.

“If this turns out to be a change of trend after all, then obviously decisions will be made to announce new curbs,” he said.

Niedzielski told the news conference that the latest figure of 17,196 daily COVID-19 cases reported on Wednesday represented a nearly 10 percent increase on the same day a week earlier, the state PAP news agency reported. 

Omicron infections expected to peak in late January

Niedzielski told reporters that “omicron is much more contagious than other COVID-19 variants, but its virulence is slightly smaller than that of the delta mutation.”

He added, however, that a growing number of omicron infections may nonetheless lead to a surge in hospitalisations. 

“The government is making systematic preparations for an omicron attack,” Niedzielski announced. 

He added that omicron infections were expected to peak in Poland in late January.

”The government is boosting reserves of medicines and medical equipment, and making plans for increasing the number of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients,” he said.

He estimated that the number of hospital beds "may have to be raised to 40,000, as during the previous wave of the coronavirus, or, under a much more pessimistic scenario, even to 60,000."

He warned that the second option would mean “a massive capacity crisis” for the country’s healthcare system and represented “a catastrophic scenario,” the PAP news agency reported.

Poland on Wednesday reported 17,196 new coronavirus infections and 632 more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the country's total number of cases during the pandemic to 4,162,715 and fatalities to 98,666.


Source: PAP, TVP Info