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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland confirms 6,789 new coronavirus cases, 389 more deaths

27.01.2021 10:40
Poland on Wednesday reported 6,789 new coronavirus infections and 389 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases to 1,489,512 and fatalities to 36,054.
Coronavirus in Poland: A mural in Warsaw encourages the public to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Coronavirus in Poland: A mural in Warsaw encourages the public to get a COVID-19 vaccine.Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

Of the new cases confirmed on Wednesday, 934 were in the central region of Mazowieckie, which includes the national capital Warsaw.

Meanwhile, 656 new infections were reported in the western province of Wielkopolskie, which is home to the major city of Poznań.

The northern province of Pomorskie, which contains the Baltic port city of Gdańskhad the third-highest number of new infections confirmed by officials on Wednesday, at 636.

The latest deaths in Poland’s coronavirus outbreak are 292 people with pre-existing medical conditions and 97 who died directly because of COVID-19, the Polish health ministry said in a tweet.

On Tuesday, Poland confirmed 264 deaths and 4,604 new coronavirus infections nationwide, compared with 38 deaths and 2,419 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.

14,120 in hospitals, 176,833 quarantined

The health ministry announced on Wednesday morning that 14,120 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals nationwide, 1,414 of them on ventilators, with a further 176,833 people quarantined for possible coronavirus exposure.

Meanwhile, 1,246,267 people have now recovered from COVID-19 throughout the country, including 2,692 over the last 24 hours, the health ministry also said.

A nation in quarantine

Amid signs of a letup in the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Poland at the start of last week reopened schools for young children after a prolonged period of distance learning.

Meanwhile, a host of other restrictions on public life, including the closure of hotels, ski slopes and many retail outlets, will remain in place until at least January 31, although the epidemic appears to have “stabilized,” according to Health Minister Adam Niedzielski.

Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski. Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

Poland on December 28 went into a "national quarantine" as it stepped up its efforts to contain the coronavirus.

Hotels and non-essential stores were told to close, and a 10-day quarantine requirement was imposed on anyone arriving in the country by public transportation.

That latest set of curbs came after tougher measures to battle COVID-19 took effect across the country 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.

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 are forbidden, though people who live or work together are exempt from the rule.

Beginning October 10, people must cover their mouths and noses when outdoors in public places as well as in most indoor environments nationwide.

Temporary hospitals, remote patient monitoring

In an effort to deal with the second wave of the pandemic, the country has set up a network of temporary hospitals to treat coronavirus patients.

Meanwhile, those testing positive for COVID-19 are also 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.

Vaccinations under way

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

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

On Monday, a shipment of 365,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech arrived at Warsaw's Chopin Airport, according to Michał Kuczmierowski, head of the government's Material Reserves Agency (ARM).

Michał Kuczmierowski, head of Poland's Material Reserves Agency (ARM). Michał Kuczmierowski, head of Poland's Material Reserves Agency (ARM). Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

A week earlier, a batch of around 176,000 doses of the vaccine was delivered to Poland.

Polish officials have said they expect around 6 million coronavirus vaccine doses to reach their country by the end of March.

In the first quarter of this year, more than 3 million people are expected to be vaccinated for COVID-19 throughout the country.

Frontline healthcare workers are first in line to be inoculated, followed by nursing home residents, the elderly, people with chronic health conditions, teachers, police, and soldiers.

Citizens over 80 have been able to sign up for COVID-19 shots since January 15. Last Friday, registration opened to those in the 70+ age group. Monday, January 25, marked the first day of vaccinations for this group.

Poland on Monday began administering COVID-19 vaccines to citizens over 70. People can now send a text message to sign up for a shot. They can also go online to register or call a 989 vaccination hotline to schedule an appointment. Poland on Monday began administering COVID-19 vaccines to citizens over 70. People can send a text message to sign up for a shot. They can also go online to register or call a 989 vaccination hotline to schedule an appointment. PAP/Wojtek Jargiło

Meanwhile, younger Polish adults can put their names on a waiting list for a vaccine, but for now there is no timeline on when they will be able to receive a shot.

Poland at the start of last week began vaccinating elderly people living in nursing homes, with plans to inoculate at least 70,000 in the effort.

Almost 6,000 vaccination sites are available to citizens as the country rolls out its COVID-19 inoculation program, according to the prime minister's top aide, Michał Dworczyk, who is spearheading the drive.

Michał Dworczyk, the man in charge of Poland's COVID-19 vaccination campaign; seen on a screen during a virtual media briefing on Wednesday. Michał Dworczyk, the man in charge of Poland's COVID-19 vaccination campaign, seen on a screen during a virtual media briefing. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak

Poland originally announced plans to spend PLN 3 billion (EUR 675 million, USD 820 million) on more than 60 million doses of coronavirus vaccines under a national inoculation program adopted by the government.

Last Thursday, the country's health minister said that Poland had expressed a desire to purchase more than 20 million additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine this year, which he said would guarantee over 80 million doses of vaccines in total under all contracts.

As of Wednesday, a total of 905,457 people had received the shots nationwide, according to data released by officials.

'Let's get vaccinated'

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.

Photo: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/Łukasz Gągulski

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.

The first, and so far only, delivery of 27,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Poland on January 12.

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.

The European Medicines Agency is expected to authorize the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot for use across the EU on Friday.

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info, Reuters