Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny arrested on arrival as he returns home
LONG READ: The oligarch problem
COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
Durov rejects Western funds’ offer to buy 5%-10% of Telegram with $30bn valuation
One of Russia’s biggest wood product companies, Segezha could be Sistema’s next IPO
New Ukrainian VC firm QPDigital aims to invest up to $100 million in digital startups
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Estonian premier quits after Tallinn development scandal
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
OUTLOOK 2021 Czechia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
OUTLOOK 2021 Hungary
Hungarian government remains silent after Capitol riots
World Bank expects modest recovery for Europe and Central Asia in 2021
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
Slovakia to invest €1.2bn in digitisation
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Heavy flooding causes chaos in parts of Southeast Europe
Vodafone Albania plans €100mn infrastructure investments after AbCom merger
OUTLOOK 2021 Albania
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
Kyiv accuses Bosnian President Dodik of lying about icon gifted to Russian foreign minister
Bosnia’s real GDP contracts 6.3% y/y in 3Q20
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING THINK: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
OUTLOOK 2020 Bulgaria
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
Zagreb Stock Exchange's Crobex10 index at highest level since March 5
OUTLOOK 2021 Kosovo
Arrera Automobili aims to launch Albania’s first supercar
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Moldova’s PM resigns to prepare the ground for early elections
Socialist lawmakers in Moldova scrap settlement on $1bn bank frauds
75% of Montenegrins want EU membership
Montenegro’s new ruling coalition carves up top state jobs
OUTLOOK 2021 Montenegro
North Macedonia's manufacturing confidence indicator down by 8.5 pp y/y in December
OUTLOOK 2021 North Macedonia
Transparency International warns of high corruption risk in CEE defence sectors
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
Romania’s central bank cuts monetary policy rate by 25bp to 1.25%
Romanian construction companies' activity slows in November after intense 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Serbia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
Slovenia’s dire COVID-19 situation in 4Q20 caused second economic dip
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Let’s tentatively pencil in a date for Turkey’s hot money outflow
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
Armenia’s PM cautions conflict with Azerbaijan “still not settled” after trilateral meeting with Putin
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Georgia’s political kingpin Bidzina Ivanishvili quits politics
Modern-day “Robin Hood” inspires Georgians drowning in debt
Iran’s navy conducts missile drill while analyst argues Trump even capable of nuclear strike in final days
TEHRAN BLOG: Who’s more credible? Johnson backing Trump’s Nobel chances or Iran applauding arrest warrant for US president?
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
OUTLOOK 2021 Kyrgyzstan
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
OUTLOOK 2021 Uzbekistan
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Poland will close the remainder of schools, as well as most retail and cultural facilities after the most recent data showed the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases shot up to 24,692, an increase of 29% week-on-week, the government said on November 4.
With the number of deaths at 373 – also a new high and an increase of 58% in weekly terms – the government said that the restrictions were “necessary” or the number of cases and deaths would spiral out of control, breaking Poland’s already very strained health care system.
The new rules include closing primary schools entirely – after the previous weeks saw a switch to online classes only for the higher grades – as well as suspending the activity of cinemas, theatres and other cultural centres. High schools and universities also remain in online mode.
Poland is also closing most retail other than groceries, pharmacies, DIY stores, animal product stores and service points. Elsewhere, there will be a limit of one customer per 10 square metres (sq m) in smaller stores and one per 15 sq m in larger ones.
Hotels will remain open but only for travellers on business. Churches will also be allowed to function but with a limit of one person per 15 sq m during service.
All other restrictions, such as the limit of five people for public gatherings – largely flouted during pro-choice rallies that have rocked Poland for the last two weeks – remain, the government said.
“That is the last moment to avoid a national quarantine,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference, referring to full countrywide lockdown, which Poland went through in March and April when the pandemic struck the country of 38mn people.
The government has long insisted there could not be a full lockdown so as to avoid further economic damage. The spring freezing of the economy is forecast to lead to a recession of 3-4% in 2020, the mildest in the EU but unprecedented in Poland.
The government has been widely criticised for failing to prepare for the second wave of the pandemic, which was certain to come in the colder months, experts have long warned.
One of the key drivers of the surging number of new cases was re-opening of schools in September. Poles’ early discipline in adhering to key safety rules – wearing masks and maintaining social distance – also became lax over the summer, not least because of the government’s own diminishing of the risks in the run-up to the presidential election.
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