Poland eases virus curbs in certain regions

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Poland will reopen hair salons and let some children return to schools in 11 of its 16 regions from April 26, the health minister said, as daily COVID-19 case numbers start to fall.

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.

“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 the regions with lower rates of infection, Niedzielski told a news conference. Hair and beauty salons will also reopen.

In the remaining five regions, which include the southern industrial centre Silesia, the current restrictions will remain.

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.”

Photo: Staff at hospital for patients with Covid-19 at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland . EPA-EFE/LESZEK SZYMANSKI

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