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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Stricter COVID-19 rules in Poland on face masks, border crossing

27.02.2021 07:15
Poles will from Saturday no longer be able to use scarves, bandanas and plastic visors instead of masks to cover their face in public as the government sharpens COVID-19 rules amid a spike in infections.
Polands Health Minister Adam Niedzielski seen on a screen as he briefs reporters during a virtual news conference this week.
Poland's Health Minister Adam Niedzielski seen on a screen as he briefs reporters during a virtual news conference this week.Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Meanwhile, anyone crossing Poland’s southern border with the Czech Republic and Slovakia will have to go into quarantine unless a test carried out in the last 48 hours shows they do not have the coronavirus.

The new rules were announced by Health Minister Adam Niedzielski as the number of fresh coronavirus infections in Poland rose to 12,146 on Wednesday, a jump of almost 3,500 compared to a week earlier.

The epidemic has claimed the lives of over 43,000 Poles since it hit the country last March.

Poland’s southern neighbour Slovakia, a country of 5.5 million, has suffered about 100 deaths per day recently, the highest in the world relative to population on a one-week basis, the Reuters news agency reported, citing data tracker ourworldindata.org.

Regional curbs

In another move announced by officials, a range of restrictions on public life will be reintroduced in the Warmińsko-Mazurskie region of northeastern Poland, where the level of infections has caused concern.

Hotels, shopping malls, cinemas, theatres, museums and swimming pools there will have to shut, while young schoolchildren in the region will have to return to remote classes.

Pandemic restrictions in the rest of the country will remain unchanged until at least March 14 following an easing of containment measures earlier this year, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Wednesday.

Restrictions eased

Amid signs of a letup in the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Poland in the middle of January reopened schools for young children after a prolonged period of distance learning.

In a further easing of coronavirus curbs, shopping malls, museums and art galleries across the country were allowed to reopen earlier this month.

Meanwhile, restrictions on hotels, entertainment venues and outdoor sports areas including ski slopes were partially lifted on February 12.

A host of other restrictions on public life, including the closure of restaurants and gyms, remain in place, following an announcement earlier this month by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki seen on a screen during a virtual news conference on Tuesday Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki seen on a screen during a virtual news conference earlier this month. Photo: PAP/Piotr Nowak

'Third wave'

Public health officials warned last week that the daily number of new COVID-19 infections in the country was starting to rise again in a worrying new trend.

Health ministry spokesman Wojciech Andrusiewicz declared last Friday that a third wave of the epidemic had started in Poland.

Under restrictions announced in October, pubs, restaurants and cafes throughout the country remain closed and are only allowed to provide take-aways and delivery orders.

Beginning October 10, people must cover their mouths and noses when outdoors in public places as well as in most indoor environments nationwide.

Poland on Friday reported 11,539 new coronavirus infections and 259 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases during the pandemic to 1,684,788 and fatalities to 43,353.

Meanwhile, a total of 3,163,856 COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered across the country so far, officials announced on Friday.

(gs-pk)

Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info