Polish prime minister presents epidemic measures

Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Face mask regulations, raising the number of hospital beds for COVID-19 cases and the startup of a 'Stop Covid' application are among the anti-epidemic measures proposed on Wednesday in the Sejm (lower house) by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Morawiecki, who presented a report on government measures against the approaching second COVID-19 wave, reiterated the significance of maintaining social distance, wearing face masks and ventilating rooms. He also warned against a possible third epidemic wave, saying that whether it broke out or not depended on the successful creation of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Morawiecki said Poland's anti-epidemic strategy has proven effective against other European countries, and announced its continuation.

Listing the main planned anti-epidemic rigours, Morawiecki named restrictions in public life, obligatory face masking, maintaining social distance, sanitary regulations, medical treatment by the national health service, quarantining, the provision of more hospital beds and the erection of temporary COVID-19 treatment hospitals in all provincial capitals.

"Our basic strategy and principle is to shape social and economic life in such a way as to continue learning, working and living without shutting the economy down, while cutting off the COVID-19 transmission line," Morawiecki said.

In this context, he highlighted the country's current division into green, yellow and red epidemic zones. He also announced the opening of a rehab centre for COVID-19 survivors in Glucholazy, southwestern Poland, and new protection measures for senior citizens.

Commenting on epidemic adjustments in the school system, Morawiecki said Poland will likely keep older primary school classes at home and switch them to online or hybrid learning. He added that decisions in the matter would probably be taken on Wednesday.

From Monday, all secondary schools and universities in the so-called red zones, where the coronavirus count is the highest, were switched to distance learning. The rest of the country is now using hybrid learning for secondary school or university students.