Some children in Poland will go back to school next week

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Some children in Poland will go back to school next week

Polish children in the first three years of primary school will return to normal lessons from Jan. 18, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Monday, but other COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place until the end of the month.

In December Poland announced that it was entering a “national quarantine,” with hotels, ski slopes and many shops closing in a bid to prevent a damaging third wave from hitting the country as it rolls out its vaccination programme. While daily COVID-19 case numbers have stabilised in Poland after surging in the autumn, the discovery of new variants and rising case numbers in other European countries mean authorities are concerned about a possible third wave, Niedzielski said.

“From Jan. 18 we decided to maintain all additional restrictions apart from starting on-site teaching in grades 1-3 in primary school,” the minister told a news conference. “The damages from the 1-3 grade students not being in their peer group does not balance the risk of a pandemic,” Niedzielski also said.

Poland, a country of 38 million, has vaccinated around 200,000 people to date. While the first stage of vaccination was supposed to be reserved for medical personnel, it subsequently emerged that a number of celebrities and a former prime minister had managed to jump the queue, causing a wave of criticism.

Leszek Miller, 75, who served as prime minister in 2001-2004, said he was able to get vaccinated at a hospital managed by the Medical University of Warsaw, which found itself at the centre of the scandal, by virtue of being a patient there. Niedzielski told the conference that he expects the rector of the Medical University to resign.

Poland has not yet reported a British variant of the coronavirus but has noted a Czech one, Niedzielski also said.

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