News Alerts

14 Apr 2020 | 12:42 PM UTC

Poland: Face covering required in public spaces due to COVID-19 April 16 /update 8

Poland News Alert

Government mandates covering mouth and nose in public spaces from April 16 amid COVID-19 restrictions; abide by government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 4/14/2020, 12:00 AM until 5/3/2020, 11:59 PM (Europe/Warsaw). COUNTRY/REGION Poland

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Event

Polish authorities announced that protective garments for the nose and mouth will be mandatory in public spaces as of Thursday, April 16, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Individuals are therefore required to cover their mouth and nose using a mask, scarf, or handkerchief until further notice.

Separately, the government plans on easing domestic restrictions on shops starting on Sunday, April 19, ahead of the presidential election, scheduled on Sunday, May 10, for which Polish citizens will be asked to vote by mail.

On Thursday, April 9, the Polish government announced that it would extend a series of nationwide restrictions. Nonessential businesses will remain closed until Sunday, April 19, and individuals will be prohibited from leaving their homes except for essential activities. Gatherings of more than two people, excluding families, are also banned, and no more than five people are allowed to take part in religious services. Stores that remain open must serve only elderly customers from 10:00 to 12:00 (local time) each day, and implement new hygienic measures such as offering disinfectant and rubber gloves to customers. Minors must be accompanied by an adult if walking outside. All schools and universities will remain shut down until Sunday, April 26.

Passenger air traffic and international rail traffic will remain suspended until April 26. Additionally, land borders will remain closed until Sunday, May 3, though exemptions will continue to be made for Polish nationals, residents, and those with valid work permits. All Polish citizens and residents returning to the country will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

As of Tuesday, March 14, there are 7049 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 251 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

 

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