Special restrictions for travellers from China unjustified - minister
Poland will not impose special Covid restrictions on people travelling from China, with the health minister saying there was no justification for their introduction.
The European Union recommended on Wednesday that member states should require travellers from China to produce a negative Covid test result taken no more than 48 hours prior to boarding a flight.
China relaxed its 'Zero Covid' policy in December after three years, lifting most restrictions. The presence of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread rapidly in the country, and the government has given up issuing daily infection statistics.
Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told a press conference on Thursday that his ministry had two reasons for not introducing special restrictions.
"First, as we look at the number of Covid-19 infections, we have been dealing with decreases over the last two weeks," Niedzielski explained. "Let's also remember that we are at the level of an average of 500 daily Covid-19 infections."
He added that in contrast, over the same period, around 40,000 cases of flu had been recorded, and that in terms of coronavirus there were no factors to presage an increase in the infection rate.
"Second, and this is actually decisive, neither the WHO (World Health Organisation - PAP) nor any institution responsible for health at an international level has identified that we are dealing with some new mutation of the virus in China," the minister continued. "We are dealing with that regular structure of the virus's genome that we have in Poland. In this situation the introduction of special restrictions or measures does not seem justified."
The health minister went on to say the only EU recommendation that seemed sensible was to require plane passengers to wear masks on board.
"Here we have given ourselves until the end of next week (to take the decision - PAP) because at the moment the current situation does not demand it," he said.