On Wednesday (17 November) data from the Polish health ministry confirmed a sharp rise with 24,000 new COVID-19 cases and over 460 deaths.
The new COVID-19 cases come as the Polish government faces criticism for its response to the pandemic. No new measures were adopted to contain the new wave of infections.
“This way, we will swing until spring, instead of limiting the number of new cases. Like in many other countries we should have introduced benefits for the vaccinated and limit the activeness of the unvaccinated”, said professor Robert Flisiak, member of the Medical Council appointed by the prime minister.
However, the government has been reluctant to introduce the recommendations of the Medical Council, including mandatory vaccinations for medical staff, shop workers, and those in public administration.
On Wednesday, the government introduced a new law that allows business owners to ask whether their employees are vaccinated. This is controversial among anti-vaxxers, who accuse the government of “sanitary segregation”.
53.5% of Poles have been fully vaccinated against COVID. About 69% of Warsaw’s inhabitants have been vaccinated, and the city recently won government recognition for the most inoculated citizens. Other large cities are also among the better-vaccinated populations. Meanwhile, in rural areas of Eastern Poland vaccination rates struggle to exceed the mid-30s in terms of percentage, according to government statistics.
(Piotr Maciej Kaczyński | EURACTIV.pl)