On Friday, May 22, media sources reported that Polish authorities plan to extend the ban on international flight operations by two weeks, until Saturday, June 6, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The ban on domestic flights has also been extended by an additional eight days until Sunday, May 31.
The Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday, May 13, that the existing entry restrictions which bar most foreign nationals from entering the country will be extended until Friday, June 12, due to COVID-19. Under the decree, all Polish citizens and residents are permitted to return to the country but will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Commercial air traffic and international rail traffic will remain suspended until at least Saturday, May 23, with the exception of some charter flights transporting returning Poles.
Polish authorities previously began easing COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, April 20. Certain forests and parks reopened while hotels and recreational facilities resumed operations on Monday, May 4, under strict safety rules. Other restrictions, including a ban on gatherings and a requirement to wear a mask in public remain in effect, and cafés, bars, and entertainment facilities remain closed until further notice. Nurseries and kindergartens resumed on Wednesday, May 6, while schools and universities will be suspended until Sunday, May 24
As of May 22, health authorities have confirmed 20,143 COVID-19 cases and 972 associated deaths in the country. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
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.
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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