On Thursday, April 9, the Polish government announced that it will be extending a series of nationwide restrictions to prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Until Sunday, April 19, nonessential businesses will remain closed, 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. All schools and universities will remain shut down until Sunday, April 26, as will passenger air traffic and international rail traffic. 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.
On Tuesday, March 31, Prime Minister Mateusz Moraqiecki ordered parks, hotels, cosmetic and tattoo salons, massage parlours, and hair salons to close. 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.
To date, there are more than 5340 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 164 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over 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.