Polish officials update action plan to contain epidemic

According to Szumowski, Poland has bought 1,000 additional ventilators of which 165 have already been delivered. Marcin Obara/PAP

Polish PM's Office head Michal Dworczyk and Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski told a Saturday press conference about the government’s current actions aimed at halting coronavirus spread.

Dworczyk said that Poland has recently bought another 300,000 coronavirus tests and that production lines are being set up in various Polish companies to make medical face masks. In June, production output should reach the level of 100 million per month, he added.

The issue of providing medical staff with personal protective gear is a challenge the whole world is facing today, Dworczyk said, adding that under the Polish prime minister's recommendation, an intensive effort has been made over the last ten days to replenish stocks of medical supplies, through orders from China and other countries.

The delivered equipment and supplies are immediately sent to healthcare facilities, Dworczyk said. "Thirty million medical masks, 28 million Hepa filter masks, 17.5 million pairs of disposable gloves, over 1.5 million protective gowns, nearly 2 million goggles - these are only purchases made over the last ten-days,” Dworczyk said.

He added that over the last years, the manufacture of protective gear had been moved from around the world mainly to China. Hence, Poland now has to buy entire production lines for this medical range to launch them through individual companies so that the basic needs in this matter are secured, Dworczyk said.

At the same time, the Material Reserves Agency has established six production groups of over 100 sewing companies. Thanks to this initiative, 40 million masks will be available for all citizens, still in April, he added.

According to Szumowski, Poland has bought 1,000 additional ventilators of which 165 have already been delivered.

He also said that around 6,000 coronavirus tests are being made daily in Poland, and that Polish labs have about 150,000 tests at their disposal, while another 500,000 have been contracted.

Szumowski also said tests of all Polish hospital staff will be financed by the National Health Fund.

In his opinion, the number of coronavirus infections will increase and "there is no indication that the epidemic will subside in the coming weeks".

Both the health minister and the PM’s office head appealed to Poles to stay at home over Easter.