Of the new cases confirmed on Friday, 961 were in the central region of Mazowieckie, which includes the national capital Warsaw.
Meanwhile, 603 new infections were reported in the western province of Wielkopolskie, which is home to the major city of Poznań.
The north-central province of Kujawsko-Pomorskie, which contains the historic city of Toruń, had the third-highest number of new infections confirmed by officials on Friday, at 557.
The latest deaths in Poland’s coronavirus outbreak are 301 people with pre-existing medical conditions and 67 who died directly because of COVID-19, the Polish health ministry said.
On Thursday, Poland confirmed 444 deaths and 6,496 new coronavirus infections nationwide, compared with 421 deaths and 6,802 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.
12,837 in hospitals, 152,292 quarantined
The health ministry announced on Friday morning that 12,837 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals nationwide, 1,338 of them on ventilators, with a further 152,292 people quarantined for possible coronavirus exposure.
Meanwhile, 1,294,687 people have now recovered from COVID-19 throughout the country, including 6,524 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 in the middle of last month reopened schools for young children after a prolonged period of distance learning.
In a further easing of coronavirus curbs, shopping malls, museums and art galleries across the country were allowed to reopen at the start of this week.
Meanwhile, a host of other restrictions on public life, including the closure of hotels, restaurants, bars and gyms, will remain in place until at least February 14, although the epidemic appears to have “stabilized,” according to Health Minister Adam Niedzielski.
Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara
Poland on December 28 went into what officials described as 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 were forbidden, though people who live or work together were 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, some of those testing positive for COVID-19 are 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 pass 1.5 million
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 in December that his government had secured vaccines for the Polish population from six leading international drug makers.
At the start of this week, a shipment of around 320,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech arrived at Warsaw's Chopin Airport, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
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.
Poland last week began administering COVID-19 vaccines to citizens over 70.
Citizens over 80 have been able to sign up for COVID-19 shots since January 15. On January 22, registration opened to those in the 70+ age group.
Poland last week 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. Photo: 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.
Almost 6,000 vaccination sites are available to citizens as the country rolls out its COVID-19 inoculation programme, 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. 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.
On Monday, Dworczyk told reporters that Poland had ordered almost 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in total, enough to inoculate 58 million people, more than its population of around 38 million.
As of Friday, a total of 1,566,604 coronavirus vaccine shots had been administered nationwide, according to data released by officials.
'Let's get vaccinated'
At the end of December, 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.
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, AstraZeneca, Moderna, CureVac, Sanofi-GSK, and Johnson & Johnson.
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 delivery of 27,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Poland on January 12, followed by a further 42,000 doses on January 31.
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 on January 29 authorized the AstraZeneca/Oxford shot for use across the EU.
Poland expects to receive its first delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine, comprising some 230,000 doses, by the middle of next week, according to the head of the government's Material Reserves Agency, Michał Kuczmierowski.
Michał Kuczmierowski, head of Poland's Material Reserves Agency (ARM). Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański
Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info, Reuters