Poland expected to move closer to second lockdown next week

Poland expected to move closer to second lockdown next week
By Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw October 23, 2020

Poland will announce new restrictions today aimed at containing the currently rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, local media reported, citing government sources.

The decision will not be a surprise. Since the beginning of October, Poland has been going through a rapidly rising second wave of the pandemic. There were as many as 12,107 new confirmed cases and 168 deaths as of October 22, the health ministry reported in its daily filing on the pandemic situation.

Poland’s prime minister is expected to announce new restrictions at today’s press conference, a number of Polish media reported. 

Starting Monday, all restaurants and bars will be closed, offering takeaway meals only. Primary schools are also set to move to online classes for older kids for the time being.

Other than the new curbs, Poles have been obliged to wear masks everywhere outside and in most indoor locations, as well as maintain social distancing. There also are limits on public gatherings and event attendance. 

Some private events such as weddings are banned in so-called “red” zones, where the number of new infections has increased particularly fast. Media have now reported that the whole of Poland will be a “red” zone starting Monday or even as soon as Saturday.

Following the summer stabilisation in the number of new cases, the combination of people’s ignoring restrictions, reopening of schools and dropping temperatures, Poland is now amidst a steeply rising second wave of infections.

The government maintains there will not be a full lockdown again like in March and April, which led to an unprecedented recession in the second quarter. Poland’s economy is expected to contract 3-4% in 2020 unless the new restrictions fail to slow down the pandemic, necessitating more limitations on social and economic life.