Poland expects up to 40,000 Covid cases in worst scenario - minister

"I'm sorry to say that the anti-vax movement in Poland is relatively strong and in a sense professionalised," Niedzielski said. Leszek Szymański/PAP

Poland may see between 35,000 and 40,000 new daily coronavirus cases at the peak of the pandemic in the worst-case scenario, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski has said in an interview with PAP.

According to Niedzielski, the more pessimistic version of events can take place in the first half of December.

The Health Ministry's milder scenario assumes daily infections at 25,000-30,000 cases within two weeks' time.

Niedzielski also said the 35,000-40,000 daily infections are a critical level for the efficiency of the health care services and could be a signal for new restrictions.

However, he admitted that the government considers it unlikely that it will introduce new restrictions for the Christmas season. "At the moment, there are no reasons to do so," he told PAP.

Asked by PAP why the Polish government, unlike a few other European governments, had not decided to implement mandatory vaccinations for certain professional groups, like health care workers or teachers, the health minister said that, in Poland, "certain coercion measures are not only scorned upon, but can be counter-productive and discourage people, and even trigger a more negative position or even an aggressive one."

"I'm sorry to say that the anti-vax movement in Poland is relatively strong and in a sense professionalised," Niedzielski added.

"Our goal is not to provoke people into taking to the streets and I'm speaking here about much larger groups than in Austria, France or Germany," he said.

Niedzielski refuted accusations from some opposition parties that the government is wary of imposing any nation-wide vaccination regime as a large part of the ruling party's electorate are not vaccinated and such a move could result in lower support for the ruling party in polls.

Poland, with a population of 38 million, has managed to fully vaccinate just above 20 million people and is near the bottom of the European vaccination ranking.