Poland risks 15,000 COVID cases a day in autumn

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Poland could face around 15,000 cases a day if too few people get COVID-19 shots before a potential fourth wave in autumn, the health minister said on Tuesday, amid concern about the slowing pace of vaccination.

With daily case numbers hovering around 100 a day, Poland has yet to experience the surge in infections associated with the Delta coronavirus variant in other countries.

However, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski warned that Poland, where almost all restrictions have been lifted and people have been enjoying a relatively care-free summer, could face almost 15,000 cases a day in the autumn.

To stem any complacency, he urged people who have not yet got a jab to do so.

“Most forecasts agree on the fact that at the turn of September and October, or November, we may have to deal with another acceleration and we must treat that as the most likely scenario,” he told a news conference.

He said that if there was a high rate of vaccination, the numbers could be hemmed in at 1,000-2,000 cases during a fourth wave.

At the height of the third wave in the spring, daily infection numbers in Poland exceeded 35,000.

Poland, a country of around 38 million, has so far fully vaccinated just over 14 million people.

In total, the country has reported 2,880,403 cases of the coronavirus and 75,095 deaths.

Photo: A view of the Warsaw’s mermaid monument on the Vistula river in Warsaw, Poland. EPA-EFE/Leszek Szymanski