PM announces state of epidemic emergency

2020-03-20 19:52 update: 2020-03-25, 11:37
PM Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo PAP/Piotr Nowak
PM Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo PAP/Piotr Nowak
PM Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday that Poland has introduced a state of epidemic emergency in connection with the spread of the coronavirus. Morawiecki said that the emergency laws brought new prerogatives and duties.

At a joint press conference with Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski and Education Minister Dariusz Piontkowski, Morawiecki said that the emergency laws were necessary to enable the proper execution of quarantine requirements and other preventive measures. He added that the new regulations contained some facilitations but also imposed new obligations on society.

The prime minister also announced the introduction of tougher penalties for breaking quarantine rules.

People under the mandatory 14-day quarantine period who break the isolation rules will face a fine of PLN 30,000 (EUR 6,624) the prime minister announced on Friday evening. The penalty has been raised six-fold in a bid to contain the coronavirus epidemic.

The government is also introducing location-tracking of people under quarantine, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.

The prime minister stressed the importance of observing quarantine rules for preventing the spread of the virus, quoting the examples of China and Taiwan, where citizens closely followed the restrictions and are now returning to work.

Breaking the quarantine may cost other people their lives, Morawiecki said. "Therefore we must treat this subject very seriously," he added. 

Morawiecki also said that schools will remain closed until Easter, as the resumption of classes now could cause the virus to spread faster. 

"This was a difficult decision but it is important and necessary to prevent a very rapid spreading of the coronavirus," Morawiecki said.

This year's Easter school break is scheduled on April 9-14.

Creches, children's clubs and universities will also remain closed until Easter.

The health minister spoke on the government's plans to regulate some prices.

The Polish government has been analysing price trends over the past year before it introduces price regulation affecting certain products to keep them in check as the coronavirus pandemic keeps spreading, Lukasz Szumowski said.

The health minister said that "central regulation of product prices is always a very delicate operation." "We have commissioned analyses of the price trends over the past year. We'll be receiving them shortly and then we'll be preparing to the publication of centrally-regulated prices."

PM Morawiecki said on Wednesday that Poland was going to introduce anti-usury laws to prevent unreasonable price increases. 

The prime minster expressed sympathy with Italy, Spain, France, Germany, the Czech Republic and other countries "that are being affected by a very deep and strong coronavirus impact." (PAP)

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