COVID-19: Over 70 percent of Poles in ‘red zones’

In response to the sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Poland, the government has decided to introduce far-reaching restrictions in the yellow and red zones. They were announced at a press conference with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Minister of Health Adam Niedzielski on Thursday.

The basic recommendation, as with the spring lockdown, is "stay at home". The Prime Minister appealed for citizens to start working remotely as soon as possible and emphasised the fact that the rapid increase in infections is the result of the increased mobility of Poles and their failure to keep the required distance. He also emphasised the importance of "distance, disinfection and masks" in fighting the pandemic.

Mr Morawiecki drew attention to the three most important challenges in the context of fighting the coronavirus. These include concern for the safety of seniors, maintaining the efficiency of the health care system and fighting the coronavirus with the least possible impact on the economy. "We are not forced to choose: no restrictions or complete lockdown," he noted.

Red zones will cover areas where over 70 percent of Poles live, including 11 out of the 16 voivodeship cities, including Warsaw. The number of people in retail outlets will be limited to five per one cash desk. Moreover, from October 19, the organisation of special events will be banned and the number of participants in public gatherings will not be allowed to exceed 10 people. Sports events will take place without the participation of the public and colleges, whilst secondary schools will have to switch to distance learning.

The new restrictions in the yellow and red zones will apply from October 17.

The Health Ministry announced a record breaking 8,099 coronavirus infections on Thursday, increasing the total to 149,903, including 61,007still active. There were 91 further fatalities.