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English Section

UPDATE: Poland marks Independence Day in shadow of epidemic

11.11.2020 14:12
Poland marked Independence Day on Wednesday, with celebrations muted this year as the country battles a raging coronavirus epidemic.
President Andrzej Duda lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw.
President Andrzej Duda lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

Public ceremonies were cut back amid rules that forbid gatherings of more than five people.

President Andrzej Duda, together with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, at noon laid a wreath in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Warsaw.

They were accompanied by the Speakers of the upper and lower houses of parliament, and by Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.

The ceremony took place without guests or spectators.

In a televised address, Duda told Poles that abiding by government restrictions that aim to curb the spread of the coronavirus was a form of patriotism.

He thanked "all those who are bravely enduring this difficult time, following recommendations, and are not endangering themselves or others".

He added: "Today this is an expression of patriotism.”

Poland on Wednesday reported 25,221 new coronavirus infections and 430 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases to 618,813 and fatalities to 8,805.

The government has warned that a nationwide lockdown may be imposed if cases continue to surge.


President Andrzej Duda (centre) and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda at ceremonies in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara President Andrzej Duda (centre) and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda at ceremonies in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

Meanwhile, the organisers of an annual Independence Day march in Warsaw, which in the past has seen tens of thousands taking to the streets, have said it will take place in motorised form on Wednesday afternoon.

Instead of walking through the streets, participants plan to drive around the Polish capital.

Prime Minister Morawiecki last week appealed for the Independence March to be called off amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Poland regained independence on November 11, 1918, the day World War I ended, after 123 years of partition by Russia, Austria and Prussia.

(pk)

Source: PAP