Polish minister: EU responsible for pandemic’s third wave

"In January we accelerated, it was not such a problem, but at the moment unfortunately it can be said that the EU’s purchasing policy will be partly responsible for the fact that we have a third wave in Europe", Niedzielski said. [EPA/EFE-Marcin Obara]

The EU’s vaccination procurement policy and problems linked to vaccine delivery, in particular, are partly responsible for the third coronavirus wave in Europe, Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told radio broadcaster Radio Zet on Saturday.

“In January, we accelerated, it was not such a problem, but at the moment, unfortunately, it can be said that the EU’s purchasing policy will be partly responsible for the fact that we have a third wave in Europe”, Niedzielski said.

According to him, the European Commission should use its weight against pharmaceutical companies, which it had also sponsored through investment grants prior to the start of vaccine production to co-finance research.

Niedzielski added that he expected the peak of the third wave of the pandemic in March/April and said the government is also considering reimposing curbs on social life in regions with the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Poland may impose restrictions at the country’s borders with Slovakia and the Czech Republic due to the worsening pandemic situation in those countries, said the minister, adding that partial border closures will be announced this coming week.

Poland has loosened some restrictions, recently opening ski slopes as well as cinemas, hotels and theatres at up to 50% capacity, but authorities have warned that these measures may have to be rolled back depending on the pandemic situation.

At the same time, the UK coronavirus variant has started to spread in Poland.

“We received information last week that the share of this mutation stood roughly at 5% of a sample of about 200 people who were tested,” Niedzielski said last week.

(Mateusz Kucharczyk | EURACTIV.pl)

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