Poland moves to tighten Covid restrictions

Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

The Polish government will launch a set of further restrictions in order to respond to the latest wave of the Covid pandemic, health ministry officials have announced.

From December 15, attendance caps will be lowered to 30 percent from the current 50 percent in restaurants, hotels, cinemas, theatres and churches, deputy health minister Waldemar Kraska told a Tuesday press conference.

The limits will not apply to vaccinated people, he said, and added that night clubs and discotheques will be closed.

Limits on public transport will be set at 75 percent of seats, Kraska said.

Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told reporters that a high number of infections combined with the additional risk of the appearance of the Omicron variant "requires decisive action."

"We have to take some more drastic decisions, the ones introduced a week ago have not brought the (expected) result," Niedzielski said, pointing to infection levels staying roughly stable.

Poland will introduce remote lessons in primary and high schools before and after Christmas, specifically between December 20 and January 9, 2022, he announced.

Nurseries and kindergartens will be open after December 20, the ministry's spokesman, Wojciech Andrusiewicz, added.

As of March 1, Poland will make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for medical staff, teachers and uniformed services, Niedzielski said.

He also said that the government is finishing working on a bill which will allow employers to ask employees for the result of a Covid-19 test, which will be free of charge for all Poles.

On December 1, Poland introduced new epidemic restrictions, including a ban on flights from seven African countries as well as new limits for public venues, restaurants, hotels, cinemas and theatres. The current set of restrictions were to hold until December 17.