The meeting, known as a Cabinet Council, began shortly after 11 a.m. at the presidential palace in Warsaw, state broadcaster TVP Info reported.
Krzysztof Szczerski, chief of staff to the Polish president, told reporters ahead of the gathering that the key focus would be on planned new measures to fight COVID-19 as autumn approached.
“We have a new health minister, and we have also entered a new school year, and at the same time the fall is coming, raising concerns over a possible double impact of the flu season and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," Szczerski said.
He added that topics up for discussion included the shape of the economy after the first two quarters of the year.
Polish President Andrzej Duda (right) and senior aide Krzysztof Szczerski (left). Photo: PAP/Piotr Nowak
The Polish economy contracted 8.2 percent in the second quarter of this year, the country’s Central Statistical Office (GUS) estimated on Monday, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cabinet Council meeting was convened after Poland last month reimposed stricter COVID-19 measures in some of its worst affected areas amid a spike in infections.
On August 21, Poland's public health authorities reported a record daily rise of 903 new coronavirus infections nationwide, the most since the pandemic hit the country in early March.
By Friday, Poland had reported a total of 69,820 coronavirus infections and 2,100 deaths from the COVID-19 respiratory disease.
National health service chief Adam Niedzielski in the middle of last week took over as Poland’s new health minister, following a swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace.
'Flexible risk management'
Niedzielski told reporters on Thursday that his ministry had developed a strategy to deal with a possible second wave of the coronavirus epidemic in the fall.
The approach will be based on "flexible risk management," he said, with an increased role for primary care providers and a larger number of drive-through testing sites.
Niedzielski stressed the role of prevention, including disinfection, social distancing and face mask wearing, while also urging mass vaccination against the flu.
Polish Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska said last month that citizens were well advised to get vaccinated against the flu, especially as it caused symptoms similar to COVID-19.
He told a news conference at the time that a combination of a busy flu season with an increased incidence of COVID-19 cases could place an excessive strain on the country’s health service, making it difficult for doctors to distinguish between the two diseases due to similar symptoms.
Poland's Health Minister Adam Niedzielski (left) and Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska (right) talk to reporters at a news conference in Warsaw on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Meanwhile, some experts warned of an increased risk of viral transmission after Poland on Tuesday reopened most of its schools to students at the start of a new school year.
Education Minister Dariusz Piontkowski has said that, after a prolonged period of distance learning amid the coronavirus pandemic, traditional in-person classes will be reinstated in most schools nationwide during the new school year.
Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info