Poland to introduce quarantine for travellers from Omicron countries

Jakub Kaczmarczyk/PAP

Poland plans to introduce a quarantine requirement on some travellers from countries where the Omicron Covid variant has been detected, the health minister announced on Monday.

Adam Niedzielski said exemption from the quarantine rules would be granted to those who are fully vaccinated or have had a test for the presence of the virus. He added that the government is working on a full list of countries to which the quarantine requirement would apply.

Niedzielski told Radio Plus, a private station, that Poland is in "a difficult situation."

"We have an average number of (daily) infections at the level of 23,000," he said. "Hospitals are inundated, we have to liquidate normal treatment places to open Covid beds."

He said a new element to the pandemic that meant instead of the infection rate peaking and declining, it would accelerate, was a "game changer."

"It changes the assessment of the situation in a fundamental way," he said.

The health minister went on to say the current epidemiological situation could not be ignored and that border controls were being considered. "It is obvious that such a decision must be taken," he told the broadcaster.

Niedzielski explained that travellers form countries where the Omicron variant had been detected would have to undergo quarantine, except for those who have been tested or vaccinated, "though we do not fully know what the interaction with vaccinations is with the new mutation," he cautioned.

The minister added that the border restrictions would come into force at the beginning of December. He added that the latest daily infection count was 13,100. "The growth dynamic week on week is only 6,500 or even less," he said. "It can clearly be seen that we are dealing with a possible watershed moment."