Polish gov't wants to keep economy open as long as possible - PM

2020-10-29 20:24 update: 2020-10-31, 11:17
PM Mateusz Morawiecki PAP/Leszek Szymański
PM Mateusz Morawiecki PAP/Leszek Szymański
The Polish government wants to avoid shutting down the economy for as long as it is possible, PM Mateusz Morawiecki said at a press conference at Warsaw's National Stadium on Thursday

The head of the Polish government said the coronavirus pandemic can best be contained by appropriate social measures. Stating that France had had to shut down its economy, Morawiecki said his government wants to refrain from taking such steps. "We want to avoid shutting down the economy for as long as we can," he said.

Mateusz Morawiecki appealed to people to maintain social distancing and limit social contacts.

"We are preparing Poland for a very bad scenario," he said, adding that the government would do everything it can to help Polish citizens.

The prime minister highlighted the venue of the press conference, a temporary hospital in the National Stadium, as an example of this.  

The stadium is being transformed into a makeshift hospital to house up to 1,200 COVID-19 beds. Morawiecki said that 31-32,000 beds for COVID-19 patients will be available in Poland by the end of next week.

Commenting on the countrywide protests currently underway against a recent constitutional court ruling that could result in a near-total ban on abortion, Morawiecki said the  protesting crowds constituted an infection risk, and appealed to the protesters to "focus their anger on him" instead of endangering others.

"My appeal to the protesters is for this anger (...) to be concentrated on me, on politicians,” he said. “Let it affect me, but not those who might be affected by it in two weeks' time. Because you, the protesters, may come into contact with elderly people on a bus, at home, or at a meeting, and this can have drastic results."  

He added that other temporary COVID-19 clinics were being set up, and should provide about 10,000 beds. (PAP)