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English Section

Polish schools to stay open despite spike in virus cases

11.10.2020 07:00
Polish schools will stay open for now despite rising numbers of coronavirus cases nationwide, the country’s prime minister has told reporters.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks at a news conference in Warsaw on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks at a news conference in Warsaw on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz

Speaking at a news conference on Saturday, Mateusz Morawiecki said: "For now, we don't see a need to reintroduce mandatory distance learning."

After a prolonged period of distance learning, Poland last month reopened most of its schools to students when the summer break ended and a new school year began.

The country's education ministry has rolled out a set of special guidelines for schools and students to follow in the face of the pandemic. These include compulsory hand washing after entering the school premises and frequent airing of the classrooms.

Spike in cases

Poland on Saturday reported a record daily rise in coronavirus infections for a fourth straight day, confirming 5,300 new cases, the most since the pandemic hit the country in early March.

Amid the spike in cases, strict new rules came into effect in the country on Saturday under which people must cover their mouths and noses when outdoors in public places as well as in most indoor environments nationwide.

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

Morawiecki told the news conference on Saturday that his government was closely monitoring the situation and would be deciding on a weekly basis whether further restrictions are needed to contain the outbreak.

New measures to protect seniors: PM

For now, new measures designed to protect senior citizens will take effect on October 15, officials have announced.

Polish Prime Mateusz Morawiecki speaks at a news conference in Warsaw on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki briefs reporters on new measures to protect senior citizens. Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz

These will include special shopping hours every day from 10 a.m. to noon and additional government funding for nursing homes to the tune of PLN 38 million (EUR 8.5 million, USD 10 million), Morawiecki told reporters.

He unveiled statistics showing that people aged over 60 were among those with the highest risk of dying from a COVID-19 infection.

Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz

Morawiecki also said his government was determined to protect the economy and avoid another full lockdown.

More hospital beds, fresh supply of new drug: health minister

Amid warnings from doctors of possible future shortages, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told the media that authorities were working to increase the number of hospital beds available to COVID-19 patients.

He also said that the government had signed a deal to secure a fresh supply of 80,000 units of remdesivir, a drug used to treat COVID-19.

Poland's Health Minister Adam Niedzielski briefs reporters at a press conference in Warsaw on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Poland's Health Minister Adam Niedzielski speaks to reporters at a press conference in Warsaw on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz

Meanwhile, street protests took place around the country on Saturday against the order to wear masks and plans for further restrictions, the Reuters news agency reported.

Participants in a protest against COVID-19 measures in Warsaw on Saturday. Participants in a protest against COVID-19 measures in Warsaw on Saturday. Photo: PAP/Mateusz Marek
Photo: Photo: PAP/Mateusz Marek

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Source: TVP Info, PAP, Reuters