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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

State of emergency an option if COVID-19 crisis worsens: Polish official

13.10.2020 07:45
Poland is not ruling out introducing a state of emergency if the COVID-19 crisis worsens dramatically in the future, a senior official has said, in response to questions from reporters.
Ryszard Terlecki, a senior politician and lawmaker with Polands ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.
Ryszard Terlecki, a senior politician and lawmaker with Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.Photo: PAP/Piotr Nowak

Ryszard Terlecki, a senior lawmaker with Poland's governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, told reporters on Monday that the authorities were keeping their options open for how to respond to a potential further spike in coronavirus cases.

Asked if the country should declare a state of emergency following in the footsteps of the neighboring Czech Republic and Slovakia, Terlecki said: "I think not just yet. As we watch other countries that have introduced a state of emergency, specifically Slovakia and the Czech Republic, little has changed there.”

He added: “However, perhaps, if the situation worsens, such a necessity may arise."

Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, speaking at a news conference last Thursday, did not rule out that his government could move to introduce a state of emergency if the number of cases continued to grow.

Poland reported 4,394 new coronavirus infections and 35 more deaths on Monday, bringing its total number of cases to 130,210 and fatalities to 3,039.

Amid a spike in coronavirus cases, strict new rules came into effect in Poland at the weekend under which everyone is required to wear a face covering when going out in public.

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

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

The Polish prime minister told reporters on Saturday that schools around the country would stay open for now despite rising numbers of coronavirus cases.

He also announced planned new measures to protect senior citizens, who are among those with the highest risk of dying from a COVID–19 infection.

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

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

To compare, Belgium has 867 deaths per million residents, according to data released by the Polish health ministry on Tuesday, October 6, while Spain has 689 and Britain reports 623.

(gs/pk)

Source: PAP