Second COVID-19 lockdown in Poland not possible: Health Minister

Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski told “Sieci” weekly on Monday that a second lockdown was not a possibility.

“A second lockdown is not a possibility,” said Mr Szumowski, adding that “I hope that even if the second wave of the epidemic comes, it would not be dire. After all, we managed to implement a network of dedicated hospitals, we’ve got the infrastructure and over 120 labs are conducting tests. These are the tools to keep the bug in check.”

The Health Minister went on, stressing that “we have means of responding to large outbreaks. We’ve got such an outbreak in Silesia but, fortunately, it was spotted quickly and did not spill over the whole region. Screenings, quarantine and the isolation of the infected helped.”

Asked whether he would have taken the same decisions in hindsight, the minister said that the only thing he would have changed, were he able to turn back the clock, was a swifter imposition of the lockdown. “Albeit we did it as soon as it was possible,” he told “Sieci”, adding that “there was no other country that would undertake such radical decisions.”

Mr Szumowski also explained the rationale behind implementing the lockdown when there were only a handful of infected and considering lifting it now when the number has already exceeded 20,000 cases. “We’ve got the tools that allow us to control to keep the epidemic in check,” he said, adding that there were no labs in Poland capable of COVID-19 testing when the lockdown was introduced and that swabs were sent to Germany for analysis. As of today, there are 120 laboratories conducting coronavirus tests in Poland.

Restrictions on face masks to be eased in matter of days

Also on Monday, Minister Szumowski told TOK FM that a decision regarding child and youth summer camps would probably be taken in two weeks’ time when epidemic outbreaks have been largely extinguished.

The minister also said that either on Monday or Tuesday he, together with PM Mateusz Morawiecki, would announce the decision to ease the restriction on wearing face masks.

“Some provinces may have that restriction lifted later,” said Mr Szumowski, adding that “we’ve got three provinces where the virus replication marker is close to one or, as is the case with Silesia, above one.” The minister stressed that the marker for all the other provinces was below one.

“It is clear that the marker of reciprocal containment begins to drop and that is quite abruptly,” the health minister said, adding that “epidemiological markers show that the situation is safer than we initially presumed.”