Most of Poland’s pandemic advisers resign over govt backing

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — More than two thirds of Poland’s COVID-19 medical advisory body resigned Friday saying the government was not heeding their advice in its response to the pandemic.

In a statement, 13 of the board’s 17 members said that with “growing frustration” they were experiencing a “lack of political possibilities to introduce the optimal and globally tested methods of fighting the pandemic.”

They also complained of a “growing tolerance” in the government for state officials playing down the threat of the pandemic or the need for vaccination.

The mass resignation comes days after a regional education official drew criticism for describing vaccination against COVID-19 as an “experiment.” The right-wing government has ignored calls for her dismissal.

In a letter to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, outgoing board members said “very limited action” was taken during the fall surge and against the ongoing threat from the fast-spreading omicron variant, “despite an expected huge number of deaths.”

Morawiecki’s office responded saying that in its decisions the government had to take into account various differing opinions coming also from businesspeople, educators and others. It said the formula of the advisory body will be changed, but gave no details.

In response to an infection surge due to omicron, Poland’s government has introduced restrictions on access to indoor public areas, but avoided a lockdown or outdoor mask mandate.

Poland has recorded more than 100,000 virus-related deaths, and less than 60% of the 38 million population is vaccinated.

The council advises the government on action and legislation to fight the pandemic.


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