Omicron variant will lead to fifth Covid wave warns health minister

"The most likely scenario is a smooth transition from the fourth wave, caused mainly by the Delta variant, to the fifth wave related to the Omicron," Adam Niedzielski told RMF FM private radio broadcaster on Wednesday. Leszek Szymański/PAP

Poland will experience a “smooth transition” from the fourth wave of the pandemic to the fifth because of the spread of the new Omicron variant, the health minister has said.

Covid-related hospital cases are declining but Poland is now bracing itself for problems caused by Omicron, which was first detected in the country on December 16.

"The most likely scenario is a smooth transition from the fourth wave, caused mainly by the Delta variant, to the fifth wave related to the Omicron," Adam Niedzielski told RMF FM private radio broadcaster on Wednesday.

He added that Poland was now seeing "clear symptoms of a decline in number of infections," which will be aided by the fact that in the coming three weeks, in the period preceding and following the Christmas break, schooling will be held remotely.

But Niedzielski admitted that the new Omicron variant is very contagious, so it is likely that it will take two months rather than the usual four, since its first appearance, before it becomes dominant in the population.

"This means it is likely that at the end of January we will see an acceleration and the beginning of the fifth wave, in the sense that the Omicron variant will start dominating and it will define the fifth wave," he said.