Presence of COVID-19 variant detected in Britain growing in Poland: minister
WARSAW - The recently accelerated new wave of COVID-19 infections in Poland is primarily caused by the variant first identified in Britain, Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Monday.
"The increasing share of the mutation (detected in Britain) can result in a higher number," he said, adding that the coronavirus reproduction rate currently stood at 1.19 in Poland.
The northern Polish province of Warmia-Masuria has introduced additional restrictions due to relatively high numbers of coronavirus cases involving the variant.
The variant, first found in Poland at the end of January, is believed to be substantially more infectious than the original coronavirus that caused COVID-19. There is no indication the variant affects the effectiveness of the currently available vaccines.
Poland recorded 4,786 new coronavirus cases on Monday, and the country's total number of infections has reached over 1.7 million. The total number of deaths from the virus now stood at 43,793.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in Poland and many other countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines. Over 3.3 million Poles have so far been vaccinated, mainly the elderly and medical workers.
Meanwhile, 256 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide - 74 of them in clinical trials - in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Feb 26.