Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities implement travel restrictions in Poland from March 15 due to COVID-19. International passenger air and rail transport suspended.

This alert affects Poland

This alert began 14 Mar 2020 10:55 GMT and is scheduled to expire 25 Mar 2020 12:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: March 15-25
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, international air and rail transport restrictions; possible business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Poland announced that it would close its country's borders to foreign nationals from 0001 March 15 for a period of 10 days to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The temporary travel ban excludes spouses and children of Polish nationals, persons with a Pole's Card, and persons with permanent or temporary residence or a work permit. All returning Polish citizens will be subject to a mandatory 14-day home quarantine. The government has also suspended all international passenger air and rail transport during these 10 days; however, cargo transport networks and domestic transport services will not be affected. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised citizens to avoid travel abroad that is not necessary. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming weeks.

The government placed a ban on all gatherings of over 50 people and made other restrictions through at least March 28. It has also announced the partial closure of shopping malls, with only grocery stores, pharmacies, and laundry facilities remaining operational. Restaurants, bars, and cafes will suspend sit-down options. Educational facilities nationwide will be closed through March 25. Banks and financial establishments will continue to operate normally.

Background and Analysis
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

Advice
Individuals affected by the restrictions should postpone planned travel. Contact airlines to inquire about flight cancellations. Follow all official immigration instructions. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Polish Government: www.gov.pl/web/koronawirus