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– In autumn, we’ll most likely see a rise in coronavirus infections and a flu epidemic along with it – Deputy Minister of Health, Waldemar Kraska, admitted in an interview for the Polish Radio Channel Three (Trójka). He also mentioned his lack of trust in the prediction models anticipating an increase of up to 800 new daily infections towards the end of August – In spring, such forecasts simply failed to materialize. The Ministry has its own research center which prepares such predictive models- he explained.

On Monday, the Ministry of Health registered 337 new cases of COVID-19 infections and five more fatalities. Currently, the total number of infections is estimated at 43 402 since the start of the outbreak. The reported death toll has risen to 1676.

-We’re seeing a relative increase in new cases at the moment. These are mostly related to hot spots in work places, mainly in coal mines. We’re doing extensive research and testing at these facilities – Kraska said. The Deputy Minister excluded the closure of mines or a return to full economic lockdown.

Coronavirus. Students remain uncertain

The Minister didn’t have good news for students and their parents. – The decision regarding whether or not students can attend their classes in-person will be made a week/two before the beginning of the school year. Likewise, the same will apply to university classes beginning in October – he stated, adding that the final decision will largely depend on the state of epidemic towards the end of August.  

Last week, the Minister of Education, Dariusz Piontkowski, announced that his Ministry is working on a legislative framework intended to ensure the health and safety of students returning to school. – We want our students to return to a regular study mode in September – he Tweeted.

On Monday, the Ministry of Health will convene a wide group of experts and national advisors to devise an action strategy for autumn.  One of the central topics of their discussion will be the rules on weddings. – Weddings are some of the major infection hot spots. We keep hearing reports that the 150-guests limit is rarely followed – the Deputy Minister of Health admitted. Experts also want to look into the strategies of other countries, e.g. regarding their policies on the wearing of facemasks.

Kraska also announced the Ministry’s plans to promote seasonal flu vaccination. – Because we find it crucial that as many people as possible in the heightened risk group develop an immunity, we might consider introducing a cost-free vaccination program – he emphasised.

Kraska: it’s summer holiday season, people are compensating for weeks spent on lockdown

Most of the coronavirus-related restrictions have been relaxed since Saturday. The government increased the number of fans allowed to attend live sporting events, limiting the seating capacity on stadiums to 50%. The 150-people attendance cap imposed on markets, exhibitions or conferences has also been lifted. Now, the minimum area per person will be 2,5 square meters. Restrictions for pools (other than waterparks) have also been lifted.

The public social distancing limit was shortened as well. The required distance between people in public spaces of 2 meters is now down to 1,5 meters.

-To epidemiologists, it doesn’t make any difference - Kraska admitted. It’s summer holiday season, people are compensating for weeks spent on lockdown.

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