Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Poland extend restrictions through at least April 19, others through April 26 or May 3, to curb spread of COVID-19

This alert affects Poland

This alert began 09 Apr 2020 13:35 GMT and is scheduled to expire 19 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 19
  • Impact: Significant travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Poland announced the extension of restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from April 9. Extended restrictions have been grouped into three categories dependant upon when the measures will be reviewed.

Restrictions extended through at least April 19:

  • Ban on non-essential movement outside the home
  • Closure of public spaces and entertainment establishments/cultural institutions
  • Closure of many non-essential businesses
  • Public transport operating but limited to half capacity


Restrictions extended through at least April 26:

  • Closure of educational and childcare facilities
  • Ban on international rail traffic
  • Ban on passenger air traffic


Restrictions extended through at least May 3:

  • Ban on most foreigners entering Poland
  • Mandatory 14-day quarantine for arrivals in Poland


The restrictions do not apply to freight transport. Additionally, authorities have banned public gatherings of more than two people from different households indefinitely, excluding religious gatherings which are limited to five people through at least April 19. From April 16 all individuals must ensure they cover their mouths and noses in public spaces. Authorities have been granted powers to enforce these restrictions through fines.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV2-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. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as these may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). 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

World Health Organization (WHO): who.int