PM announces border lockdown, other virus counter-measures

2020-03-13 20:08 update: 2020-03-17, 14:44
Photo PAP/Piotr Nowak
Photo PAP/Piotr Nowak
Limitations on shopping malls, the closure of pubs, restaurants, bars and casinos, a ban on public gatherings over 50 people and a temporary entry ban on foreigners are among new coronavirus counter-measures announced by Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday evening.

Grocery stores, pharmacies and drug stores will remain open while all other stores in shopping centres will close from midnight on Friday, under the new measures announced by the prime minister. Shops, banks and service centres outside of shopping malls will not be affected. 

Border controls will be reinstated while a temporary entry ban will apply to foreigners from midnight Saturday for 10 days with a possibility to prolong the ban for 20 days and thereafter for a further 30 days. Poles crossing the border will be put on 14-day quarantine. 

Internally, flights and rail travel will be suspended, the PM said, with international air and rail connections also frozen from Sunday with the exception of charter flights into Poland. Borders will remain open for the transport of goods, the prime minister said. 

PM Morawiecki went on to appeal to all citizens, especially children and young people, to remain at home as this is an effective method of preventing the virus's further spread. He also requested workers to maintain strict hygiene standards in the workplace. 

Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski said that from Saturday a state of epidemic threat would be in force and that steps were being taken to contain the coronavirus. (PAP)