COVID-19 restrictions partially eased in some regions starting April 26
Starting April 26 in 11 regions, children in the first three years of primary school will partially resume lessons at schools. Hairdressing and beauty salons will also be opened - Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Wednesday. In the remaining 5 regions where the epidemiological situation is still difficult all restrictions will remain in place.
Poland has seen record daily numbers of cases and deaths during the third wave of the pandemic, and introduced a raft of nationwide restrictions, including the closure of cinemas, hotels and many shops, in March.
However, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told a news conference that the infection rate in many regions was now at a level where authorities believed they can lift some restrictions starting April 26.
"We wanted to separate... those regions where the situation is the most difficult," he said. "However, in other regions we want to introduce some loosening (of restrictions)."
"Children in the first three years of primary school will return to school for some lessons in regions with lower rates of infection" - the health minister announced and explained the decision pertained to 11 regions.
He added that in those regions also hair and beauty salons will reopen.
In the remaining 5 regions where the epidemiological situation is still difficult all restrictions will remain in place. Those regions are: Śląskie, Dolnośląskie, Wielkopolskie, Łódzkie and Opolskie.
Minister Niedzielski also announced that a detailed roadmap for May would be presented next week. "It will contain gradual reopening of catering and hotel industries, as well as other branches affected by the restrictions" - he explained.
"As of today, in my opinion, lifting the requirement of wearing masks outside carries an unacceptable risk" - the minister said. He added, however, that talks on the issue were ongoing and the decision would be made next week. He also explained that the main criterion that would weigh on the decision would be the infections rate.
Fourth wave possible
"We may say that the apogee of infections of the third wave is behind us. Apparently, the same goes for the apogee of hospitalization which occurred approximately two weeks ago" - minister Niedzielski said.
He added, however, that despite the decrease in the number of infections and hospitalized patients, both were still at very high levels.
Niedzielski also said the government is considering the risk of a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Such risk is chiefly defined in the context of new mutations of the virus, which may fall outside the scope of vaccine protection".
Health Ministry informed on Wednesday about 13,926 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and deaths of 740 COVID patients. Since the start of the pandemic Poland has reported 2,718,943 infections and 63,473 deaths.
Asked about the presence of counterfeit Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines in Poland, Health Ministry Spokesman Wojciech Andrusiewicz said authorities had not received any information about this.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Pfizer had identified counterfeit versions of its COVID-19 vaccine in Poland and Mexico.
"The risk of some counterfeit appearing in official circulation is practically non-existent," Niedzielski added. "The entire logistic chain is built in such a way as to ensure security, so that no counterfeit will appear in official circulation."
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: TVN24