Poland may extend Covid-19 restrictions by up to two weeks

Coronavirus restrictions could be extended by 10 to 14 days until early February, a government minister has warned.

The current lockdown regime, valid from December 28, 2020, to January 17, 2021, severely restricts the operation of hotels, shopping centres and ski resorts.

Olga Semeniuk, a deputy development minister, told the TOK FM radio broadcaster: "Only 10 to 14 days after the end of the winter holidays (on January 17 - PAP) will we know the infection numbers (trend - PAP)."

She added that the unfreezing of some sectors of the economy "is strongly linked to the National Vaccination Programme," adding that bigger vaccination numbers increase the chances for unfreezing the economy.

But for the time being "the most likely option for today is prolonging the so-called responsibility variant" in order to protect "the health and lives of Poles as well as lifting some of the burden from the healthcare service."

The Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers (ZPP) was quick to criticise the possible lockdown extension, saying the restrictions could result in a wave of bankruptcies.

"Keeping the current restrictions after January 17 involves a risk of a wave of bankruptcies in sectors affected by them as well as of the crisis spreading to related sectors," the employers' lobby wrote.

The ZPP appealed to the prime minister and the health minister to unfreeze the economic sectors after January 17, warning that the crisis could escalate and reach "nearly all sectors of the economy."

"We must return to normal life," the employers wrote.