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Poland partly reopens schools as COVID-19 death toll tops 1,000

Tuesday - May 26, 2020 4:10 am , Category : HEALTH
Warsaw, May 26 (IANS) The number of deaths caused by the COVID-19 epidemic in Poland has reached 1,007 by Monday evening.

With official infection numbers still increasing linearly, reaching 21,631, Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski declared that the peak of the epidemic in the country has passed, Xinhua reported.

"The peak of the epidemic is behind us and is now rather crawling on instead of snowballing," he told news website Wirtualna Polska. Szumowski said earlier that he expected a decision on lifting the compulsory mask-wearing in public spaces on Tuesday.

Infection numbers have been steady at around 300 to 400 new confirmed cases every 24 hours for several weeks, with some days reaching 500. The southern province of Silesia remains Poland's epicentre for new cases of the coronavirus, with miners especially susceptible to the epidemic.

Other large-scale industries were also reported to be hotbeds for the virus. In the voivodeship (region) of Greater Poland in the west of the country, a furniture manufacturing plant reported almost 300 cases over the weekend.

Meanwhile, schools have partly reopened to receive pupils up to the age of 9 for daycare, without scheduled classes. "Parents who need to return to work and cannot stay home with their children will be pleased with the care offered in schools," said Education Ministry spokesperson Anna Ostrowska at a press conference. "As we do in pre-schools, we will constantly monitor the situation."

According to a report from radio station RMF, most parents have decided to keep their children home in the current situation, with an estimated 10 per cent of eligible pupils in Warsaw having returned to school on Monday.

--IANS pgh/