Poland celebrates Independence Day amid pandemic

Poland's Independence Day falls on Wednesday November 11 with celebrations affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.

President Andrzej Duda will lay a wreath from the nation at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw though there will be no ceremonial changing of the guard due to the epidemic.

A presidential aide said that due to public health concerns, this year's planned events aimed to celebrate the Independence Day holiday with the minimum number of people. A ban on gatherings is in force in Poland with a cap on public groups of five people.

Duda will also lay wreaths at monuments along Warsaw's Royal Route dedicated to the father figures of Poland's independence: Wincenty Witos, Ignacy Paderewski, Ignacy Daszyński, Roman Dmowski, Wojciech Korfanty and Józef Piłsudski at Belweder Palace.

Later in the day, Duda is scheduled to take part in a Holy Mass for the motherland, celebrated by the Archbishop of Warsaw, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, at the Temple of Divine Providence. There will also be a ceremony of lighting Independence Candles, as last year. Duda will also lay flowers at a plaque commemorating the victims of the 2010 Smolensk air disaster, which killed the country's president and 95 other people, many of them senior officials.

In the afternoon, the president and senior government officials will sing the national anthem on Piłsudskiego Square and Polish flags will be raised. Following the ceremony, Duda will make a television address.