Poles go shopping after COVID-19 curbs eased

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Poland eases coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poles rushed to clothes shops and DIY stores on Tuesday as the government eased coronavirus restrictions after the number of new infections fell.

New cases dropped sharply over the month of April and the government began reopening the economy in May, starting with the youngest children returning to school and reopening shopping malls and museums.

A dozen or so people lined up in front of the National Museum in Warsaw before it opened on Tuesday. Larger numbers showed up at a shopping mall in the centre of the capital.

Asked if it was too early to start easing restrictions with hospitals still dealing with a high number of COVID-19 patients, nurse Adrianna Gawinska, 27, standing in front of a clothing shop in Warsaw, said: "I think we are already past the worst."

The number of new infections in Poland dropped on Tuesday to 2,296 from a high of 35,251 on April 1, but the number may be influenced by a long May weekend when fewer tests were carried out.

As of May 4, 29% of adult Poles had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 10% are fully vaccinated, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Vaccine Tracker.

The government plans to further ease curbs in the coming days. Hotels can reopen at 50% capacity on May 8, but without restaurant or spa facilities, and from May 15 restaurants and bars will be allowed to serve food and drinks outdoors.

(Reporting by Kacper Pempel; Writing by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Editing by Janet Lawrence)