Poland due to launch six new coronavirus labs: PM Morawiecki

There are two laboratories already operating in Poland where research on coronavirus is being carried out, and six others are due to be launched soon, said the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki during the press conference held on Monday.

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The head of the government met with the Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski, the Interior Affairs Minister Mariusz Kamiński, as well as with representatives of the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate.

“The services are mobilised in case of coronavirus appearing in Poland, said Mariusz Kamiński.

“All the procedures have been reviewed, updated in order to respond effectively, quickly and professionally in the face of danger,” he added.

PM Morawiecki stated that text messages with information about the virus and its symptoms would be sent to all the Poles coming back from abroad, while those people will also undergo special examination.

The recent coronavirus spread in Italy saw the northern part of the country paralysed. Authorities have established 11 red zones in the municipalities where the cases of coronavirus have been noted, as many towns were cordoned off by the uniformed services and are undergoing quarantine. In some places schools and museums were closed for a week and all mass events were canceled.

Approximately 50,000 people are living in these areas. So far, over 220 confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported in Italy, while seven people have died.

In the midst of quarantine

Anna Janina Kloza, a teacher from Białystok and Jewish heritage custodian has been living in Codogno, Lombardia region, one of the cities that was locked down, since 2017. On Saturday, after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in that city, the Italian government issued a decree whereby leaving Codogno and several other towns located nearby is strictly forbidden.

Ms Kloza pointed out that although walking around the streets of Codogno is still allowed, all public institutions have been shut down. The postal services are unavailable and parcels cannot be delivered into the areas under quarantine, while trains do not stop at Codogno station at the moment.

“There are no protective masks and no antiseptic solutions in Codogno’s pharmacies either. In adjacent towns, where these goods were still available, the prices went ten times higher. That’s how you earn on human fear,” she said in an interview with Kurier Poranny daily.

Despite the quarantine originally being established for a week, there is a premonition among Codogno's inhabitants that it will be extended.

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Keep your composure, monitor your health

“Those who are returning from Italy should keep their composure and monitor their health,” said Jarosław Pinkas, Poland’s Chief Sanitary Inspector.

“They have to watch each other’s backs. They have to know that they might have encountered the coronavirus danger,” he said.

According to Mr Pinkas, one of the biggest problems is that it is still unknown how the epidemic broke out. The first patient infected by coronavirus in Codogno had not visited China.

Nonetheless, Jarosław Pinkas expressed hope that the Italian authorities would deal with this problem effectively. He assessed the coronavirus may be tackled with “common sense, calmness, self responsibility and a lack of panic”.

In relation to the increase in the number of people infected by coronavirus, the Polish Consulate General of Poland in Milan called for abiding by the advice of the Italian services and to take special precautions.

The Chinese coronavirus epidemic has spread to 25 countries across the globe. It has also been detected in several locations in Europe. In China alone, official data states over 77,000 people have been infected by coronavirus, while the death toll amounts to 2,600.

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