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UPDATE: Poland declares ‘state of epidemic’ as coronavirus spreads

20.03.2020 19:42
Poland has declared a “state of epidemic,” giving the authorities extra powers as they battle to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the country’s prime minister said on Friday evening.
Image: Alexey HulsovPixabay
Image: Alexey Hulsov/Pixabay Pixabay License

The government announced that fines for anyone breaking coronavirus quarantine rules would be increased to PLN 30,000 (EUR 6,600, USD 7,050) from PLN 5,000 .

At a press conference, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also said that a two-week closure of the country’s schools, introduced earlier this month, would be extended until Easter.

The number of Covid-19 cases in Poland rose to 411 on Friday, with the death toll at five, officials said.

In an interview published in Friday’s edition of the Rzeczpospolita daily, Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski warned the number of coronavirus cases in the country could surpass 10,000.

The first infection was confirmed by Polish authorities on March 4, while the country's first coronavirus fatality was announced on March 12.

President Andrzej Duda said in a televised address on Friday evening that a “crucial, breakthrough moment” was approaching in the fight against the epidemic.

“Let's stay at home!” he urged Poles.

“Let’s not put our health and our life at risk, or that of others. Let’s remember the experience of other countries: a rapidly growing number of infections and illnesses is always the result of recklessness and disregard for basic safety rules.”

Earlier this month, Poland declared a state of "epidemic emergency" and temporarily closed its borders to non-residents in a move to curb the spread of the illness.

International scheduled flights and passenger rail connections were suspended on March 15. The government is chartering special flights to help Poles abroad return home.


Source: PAP/wiadomosci.onet.pl