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WARSAW — The growing number of Covid-19 cases and an overwhelmed health care system forced Poland to announce that it will close most public venues this Saturday for three weeks.

The announcement was made by Poland’s Health Minister Adam Niedzielski.

In the health ministry’s daily report, it noted that the country has 25,052 new infections the day it made the lockdown announcement, which is 44-percent higher than the record posted on the same day last week.

The report also cited that 52 percent of the cases were said to be caused by the highly transmissible UK variant of the coronavirus. A total of 453 deaths were also reported, or about 13 percent higher than last week’s tally.

With this surge, which Polish health authorities call the third wave, the government is now stepping up stricter ways to control the spread of the virus and maintain stability in the country’s healthcare services.

Among establishments to be closed are shopping malls, cinemas, theaters and other public venues. Also included are hotels, fitness centers and other sports and cultural venues.

Even education in the country will also go back online, while businesses were also urged to enforce work-from-home setup for their employees.

If there is no improvement in the situation, Niedzielski hinted of tighter and extended restrictions.

At present, there are 1,956,974 Covid-19 cases in its 38 million population since the pandemic started more than a year ago, with deaths at 48,032.

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