Covid-19: Poland extends partial lockdown as health care system pushed to limits

Across much of central Europe, vaccine rollouts are are happening too slowly to hold back the new surge.

WARSAW, April 8 (NNN-Xinhua) — Poland will extend its partial lockdown until April 18, as the current wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is stretching the health care system to its limit, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said.

The partial lockdown was set to expire on April 10 under the original plan. Wednesday’s decision meant that gyms, theaters and gastronomic businesses will remain closed, while large retail stores and places of worship must comply with the limit of one person per 20 square meters.

Furniture stores and hardware stores larger than 2,000 square meters are to remain closed. The same goes for body services, such as hairdressers and beauty salons.

Preschools and daycares will remain closed, except for parents working in the medical and uniformed services. All regular schools will continue to offer distance schooling.

Niedzielski said the situation in Polish hospitals is “very difficult.”

“We currently have over 3,300 beds with ventilators occupied,” he said at a press conference. “Occupation parameters are closing to 80 percent of danger levels.”

On Wednesday, Poland reported 14,910 new cases of COVID-19 over a 24-hour period, while 638 people died of the disease, taking the death toll to 55,703. Close to 6.8 million Poles have so far received at least one vaccine dose. — NNN-XINHUA