The road to De-mask-us: Poland scraps mask requirement as Covid cases fall

Darek Delmanowicz/PAP

Poles will no longer have to wear masks in public spaces from Monday, except for healthcare facilities, the health minister has announced.

"I have made a decision to introduce two measures from March 28," Adam Niedzielski told a press conference on Thursday. "The first is to lift the mask-wearing requirement, but that does not apply to healthcare facilities."

For healthcare, the requirement will be maintained both for medical staff and patients, Niedzielski explained.

The government still recommends wearing masks when large numbers of people get together, Niedzielski added.

"The second decision concerns home isolation and home quarantine for household members, but also all other quarantines related to arrivals in Poland," the health minister said.

Patients who test positive for coronavirus will be given sick leave and "will have to self-isolate at home, being aware of the threat," Niedzielski said.

Public health body Sanepid will only intervene in special cases, the minister said.

The new rules are a result of falling Covid cases, according to Niedzielski.

"Today we have 8,994 new cases, which is nearly 26 percent fewer than a week ago," Niedzielski said.

He added that for the past four days, Poland had seen increased declines in Covid infections and the government expected hospitalisations and infections to fall dramatically by the end of April.