PM's chief COVID-19 advisor recommends closing country for a month

Horban said that, with such a high infection rate, Poland should achieve herd immunity within three to four months. Rafał Guz/PAP

The prime minister’s chief COVID-19 advisor has said Poland should be closed down for a month, if infections breach the 30,000 daily threshold.

Poland has experienced soaring infections rates in October and November with a record of 27,875, posted on November 7.

"We must ban people from leaving their homes without good reason, only to work in professions which are essential to the country's functioning. Everything else should close for a month," said Professor Andrzej Horban in an interview for the newspaper Rzeczpospolita, adding that that should also apply to churches.

Horban continued by saying Poland has already exceeded hospital capacity, "hence the decision to build temporary hospitals."

But he added that the health service should be regarded as broken when there is no available oxygen, no beds, medicine or personnel to treat the sick in a professional way.

"If we exclude rehabilitation and convalescent homes, because there is usually no access to oxygen there, there are about 100,000 beds remaining, of which about 30,000 are earmarked and ready for patients with COVID-19," Horban told Rzeczpospolita.

"With 30,000 diagnosed a day, an average of 6,000 will need a hospital stay. The average time per stay is 10 days. That means that after 10 days we have 60,000 beds used."

He added that despite this the health service still needed to reserve beds, saying “we cannot postpone childbirth or a heart attack”. But the pandemic could lead to the postponement of a lot of treatment, even for cancer.

The professor said he estimated that Poland had actually about 50,000 beds free, including those in temporary hospitals.

On the upside the professor also said that, with such a high infection rate, Poland should achieve herd immunity within three to four months.