WSJ praises Poland, Eastern Europe for fight against coronavirus

According to WSJ countries of Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, had quickly introduced restrictions and, to some extent, had infections under control. Jakub Kaczmarczyk/PAP

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) wrote that Eastern Europe could teach the western part of the continent a lesson about the coronavirus and added that countries of the region, including Poland, had quickly introduced restrictions and, to some extent, had infections under control.

"Across Western Europe, hospitals are overflowing with people sick with the new coronavirus and morgues are struggling to keep up with the mounting number of dead. However, in nations to the east infections have largely been kept under control and governments are starting to loosen lockdowns," Bojan Pancevski and Drew Hinshaw wrote.

They added that "by Sunday, Spain had lost 350 people per million of its population to Covid-19, Italy 322, Belgium 314, France 202 and Britain 145, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Romania, in contrast, had lost 15 per million, the Czech Republic 12, Poland 5 and Slovakia 0.4."

According to Pancevski and Hinshaw, the chief cause of this discrepancy is the fact that "the poorer countries of Central and Eastern Europe, fearing their relatively weak health-care systems would be overwhelmed by the virus, moved more quickly to enact strict social-distancing rules and restrict movement to contain outbreaks."

In the opinion of experts, the speed (of their decision) was of key importance.

The authors of the article said that the Czech Republic closed its schools and borders on March 12, Slovakia introduced a state of emergency on the same day while Poland closed its borders, restaurants and shopping malls on March 13, while the British PM told his co-citizens on March 12 that they could still take part in mass-scale sport events, they added.

They also underlined that, at the beginning, none of these countries was prepared to cope with the crisis and their medical staff complained about insufficient equipment. But despite all this, they managed to prevent the chaos which is visible in hospitals in New York, France and Spain, they concluded.