Poland brings forward reopening of cinemas, to vaccinate 16-year-olds

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective mask walks in front of the Zlote Tarasy shopping mall in the centre of the city as the government eased coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Warsaw, Poland May 4, 2021. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland will bring forward the reopening of cinemas and start vaccinating 16- and 17-year-olds, the prime minister said on Wednesday, as COVID-19 cases decline.

The country reported 4,255 new cases on Wednesday, part of a marked decrease since the peak of the third wave in May, when there were as many as 35,253 daily cases. This has given authorities the confidence to ease restrictions faster than originally planned.

"We are accelerating the opening of cinemas, theatres, concert halls and cultural institutions by 1 week, or exactly 8 days, to May 21, so that ... these sections of social and socio-economic life can start earlier," Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference.

He also said gyms and fitness centres would open one day earlier than planned on May 28.

Morawiecki said Poland would start vaccinating 16- and 17-year-olds.

"We want to make vaccination available for this younger part of society soon," he said.

On Thursday, France said it would extend its vaccine rollout to people aged 16-17 who could be at high risk of major illness from the virus.

Poland, a country of 38 million, has reported 2,842,339 cases of the coronavirus and 70,679 deaths. It has fully vaccinated over 3.8 million people.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish, Pawel Florkiewicz, Anna Koper, Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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