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UPDATE: Poland brings in tighter rules in battle against coronavirus

31.03.2020 14:04
Poland on Tuesday announced tough new restrictions as it battles a coronavirus epidemic, banning children under 18 from leaving home unless supervised by an adult, closing parks and beaches, and ordering most hotels to shut. 
Audio
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski at a televised press conference on Tuesday
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski at a televised press conference on Tuesday Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said after a meeting of a government crisis management team: "We want to avoid at all cost what happened to our partners in Western Europe."

Under the new restrictions coming into force on April 1, Poles except parents of children under 13 will have to keep a two-metre gap from others when outdoors.

'Still too much contact between people'

"There is still too much contact between people; there are too many people going out on walks,” Morawiecki told a news conference.

Among other restrictions, the use of shared rental bikes will be banned, and shoppers will have to don gloves before entering stores, Morawiecki told reporters.

From 10 am to 12 noon, grocery stores, drugstores, and pharmacies in Poland will be open only to people over 65, who are considered most at risk from the COVID-19 disease.

All cosmetic, hairdressers’, tattoo and piercing salons will be closed. And in shops that remain open, no more than three people per till will be allowed in at any one time.

Coronavirus toll

A total of 2,132 people have tested positive for the COVID-19 disease in Poland, with 31 deaths from the coronavirus so far, officials said on Tuesday morning.

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

Poland has already declared a "state of epidemic" 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 has chartered special flights to help Poles abroad return home.

In another move to contain the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic, the government previoulsy limited the operations of shopping malls and closed all pubs, clubs and entertainment venues.

Public gatherings of more than two people have been banned.

Health and government officials have urged Poles to stay home and practice social distancing.

An initial two-week closure of the country’s schools has been extended until Easter.

(pk/gs)

Source: PAP

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