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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland tightens face mask rules amid COVID-19 spike

10.10.2020 10:40
Amid a spike in coronavirus cases, strict new rules came into effect in Poland on Saturday under which everyone is required to wear a face covering when going out in public.
Photo:
Photo:PAP/Grzegorz Momot

The new rules kicked in after officials this week announced a stepped-up battle against the coronavirus epidemic following a surge in both COVID-19 infections and deaths.

Beginning Saturday, people must cover their mouths and noses when outdoors in public places as well as in most indoor environments nationwide.

The requirement does not apply to parks and forests, officials have said.

Other measures include renewed curbs on cultural venues and restaurants, and restrictions on public gatherings.

Authorities have also limited the number of people who are able to attend weddings, funerals and other events across the country, with the toughest measures in worst-hit areas.

Amid a spike in infections, the government on August 8 reimposed stricter COVID-19 measures in some of the nation's worst affected areas.

In a first step, restrictions were temporarily reinstated in 19 counties with the highest increases in new cases.

The list of “red-zone” and “yellow-zone” counties was then updated each week.

On Saturday, the entire country became designated as a “yellow-zone” subject to renewed restrictions due to rising cases.

The map also features 32 “red-zone” counties and six cities with the largest numbers of new infections.

When announcing the latest package of restrictions on Thursday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters that the new measures were the only way to avoid another lockdown, which he said would be “the worst scenario for the economy.”

Two days earlier, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski announced “zero tolerance” towards people who flout sanitary rules amid the spike in coronavirus infections, warning that offenders would be “severely punished.”

A total of 121,638 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Poland since the start of the pandemic, and 2,972 have died in connection with the COVID-19 respiratory disease so far, public health officials said on Saturday.

With 70 COVID-19 deaths per million population, Poland remains far less affected by the coronavirus epidemic than many other countries in Europe, statistics have shown.

To compare, Belgium has 867 deaths per million residents, according to data released by the Polish health ministry on Tuesday, while Spain has 689 and Britain reports 623.

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info