COVID-19: minister recommends Christmas only with closest ones

Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told Super Express daily on Friday that he would recommend Poles spend Christmas at home with their closest ones and refrain from visiting or inviting more distant friends.

“Should the number of cases drop soon, easing restrictions would be premature,” Mr Niedzielski said, adding that “unfortunately, the upcoming Christmas will resemble this year’s Easter that we spent with our closest ones.”

The lockdown menace

The minister said that the probability of introducing a nation-wide quarantine continued to be high and “should rest within our consciousness.” Mr Niedzielski added that the summer holiday season and the Czech example of quickly lifting restrictions “taught us a lesson that ‘easing-up’ too fast translates to a high number of infected people.”

“The number of new daily cases becomes more stable, albeit we still have approximately 20,000 and more new daily cases. In general, this signifies 20,000 new cases a day. People who got infected in October continue to fill hospitals, whilst our role is to maintain our healthcare facilities”, adding that saying there was no risk of lockdown “would be a fallacy”.

Bonus for doctors treating COVID-19 patients

Mr Niedzielski said that on November 1, he asked the National Health Fund (NFZ) head “to issue a bonus payment worth 100 percent of a doctor's salary to every doctor treating COVID-19 patients at second- and third-tier hospitals, which are the facilities dedicated to COVID-19 treatment.”

“The NFZ is currently appending contracts with those hospitals, which will forward the said funds to their employees. Regardless of this so-called paperwork being ironed out, the bonus will be calculated as of November 1,” the minister said, adding: “Moreover, I have decided that medical rescuers and hospital lab workers will also have their remuneration increased.”