PM: herd immunity "highly likely" by the end of June
"Today we stand a chance to defeat the pandemic, but first we all should want to get vaccinated" - Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday in Gdańsk. He also said it was "highly likely" for Poland to develop herd immunity by the end of the second quarter of 2021.
The prime minister said the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic "is receding, but we should remain very careful". He explained it was a result of the expanding vaccination programme which "reaches out to an increasing number of people".
"I've just been told that thanks to vaccinations the situation is so much different than before, as heaven and earth" - he said. "Today we stand a chance to defeat the pandemic, but first we all should want to get vaccinated" - he added.
Morawiecki also said Poland has already launched over 7,000 vaccination points.
"Speeding up the vaccination process, we have reasons to believe that by end of the second quarter we will, or at least we start developing herd immunity. It may happen sooner, but it the end of the second quarter seems highly likely" - Morawiecki explained.
He added that in the second quarter, nearly 4,5 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would arrive in Poland.
Health Ministry spokesman Wojciech Andrusiewicz said on Friday Poland's new daily coronavirus cases will likely fall in the coming days and the country seems to have passed the worst in its hospitals too. But he also warned that there was no space to loosen restrictions and the situation remained very dire.
"We see the light at the end of the tunnel that could suggest that we are slowly exiting the pandemic's third wave, but we have to maintain our discipline," Andrusiewicz told a news conference.
The country of 38 million, the largest in the European Union's eastern wing, reported a high of around 35,000 cases a day at the start of April.
It has also reported new record highs in coronavirus-related deaths with the health service being stretched to its limits by a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Poland reported 17,847 new coronavirus cases on Friday compared to 28,487 a week ago and 21,130 on Thursday.
"The trend seems absolutely downward... Also in hospitals we seem to have passed the peak," Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told public radio.
Doctors have complained that they do not have enough staff as the third wave has piled pressure on intensive care units in recent weeks.
"The country was unprepared for this scale of an epidemic... There are no beds, no personnel, simply no reserves," said professor Krzysztof Simon, a regional epidemiology consultant from Lower Silesia.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Krystian Maj/KPRM