Commuters who live in Poland and work in Germany are demanding compensation from Berlin to help cover the cost of the coronavirus tests needed to enter the country. Photo: Patrick Pleul/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa
Commuters who live in Poland and work in Germany are demanding compensation from Berlin to help cover the cost of the coronavirus tests needed to enter the country. Photo: Patrick Pleul/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

(dpa) – Poland will extend the anti-coronavirus measures in place until April 18, as pressure on the health care system remains high, the country’s health minister said on Wednesday.

The situation in hospitals is “very difficult,” with the strain especially visible in the southern industrial region of Silesia, Adam Niedzielski said during a press conference in Warsaw.

As of Wednesday, a record-high number of nearly 34,700 patients are being treated in hospitals for Covid-19. Over 3,300 patients need to be artificially ventilated.

In many cases, additional hospital beds for Covid-19 patients have been created at the expense of non-Covid hospital wards.

After a stretch of new infections higher than 30,000 cases per day, Poland has recently reported lower daily caseloads, though testing also slowed down during Easter.

On Wednesday, close to 15,000 new coronavirus cases and 638 Covid-19 deaths were reported. The overall death toll stands at 55,703.

Recent minor declines in new cases, however, are not strong enough to warrant loosening restrictions, Niedzielski said.

In late March, Poland limited the number of people who can visit large stores, closed hairdressing and beauty salons, as well as kindergartens and day care centres.

Hotels, swimming pools, gyms and outdoor sports facilities had been closed to the public earlier. Schools offer only remote learning. Restaurants are only allowed to offer take-out and deliver food.

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