Restrictions in force prolonged, youngest students return to schools: ministry

From January 18, all COVID-19 restrictions will be maintained, except for the introduction of full-time teaching for grades 1-3 in primary schools. These restrictions will be maintained until January 31, the Prime Minister's office announced on Twitter.

Among the restrictions in force until the end of January - as the Chancellery of the Prime Minister pointed out - are those concerning the ban on gatherings of more than five people, the obligation to cover the mouth and nose in public spaces, maintain a distance of 1.5 m and a distance of 100 m in the case of assemblies.

In addition, restaurants can only serve take-away and delivery and are otherwise closed until the end of January.

In shops and shopping malls (where only some stores are open), it is possible to admit 1 customer per 15 sq m.

Only staff hotels and medical hotels are allowed to open. The ski slopes will also remain closed until the end of January.

Only sports fields, gyms, and sports centres, where people are practising sports professionally, are allowed to stay open.

After arriving in Poland, the 10-day quarantine will still apply if returning to the country by public transport.

The youngest to return to schools

“I am fully convinced that we are prepared to return children to full-time education in grades 1-3 as much as possible”, said Minister of Education and Science Przemysław Czarnek.

He added that distance learning in the youngest age groups is the least effective and the most burdensome for students, teachers and parents. The minister noted that consultations on this matter were held in December and at the beginning of January with the Advisory Board for Safety in Education.

Loosening restrictions unlikely

“It is unlikely that even when we have a stabilised situation regarding the weekly number of infections that, a significant loosening of the restrictions will take place”, said the Minister of Health Adam Niedzielski.

The Minister of Health was asked at a press conference on Monday what must happen for the end of the national quarantine on February 1 or the reduction of the restrictions applicable under it.

"On the one hand, we really have a stabilisation, but we cannot be blind to what is happening around us in Europe. It is hard to think that the borders will be virus-tight. Certainly the analysis of the international situation is always an element that we must take into account”, the minister stated.