Poland tightens restrictions in response to rising coronavirus cases

Poland tightens restrictions in response to rising coronavirus cases
/ Borys Kozielski
By bne IntelliNews September 30, 2020

Facing a growing number of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, Poland has made available more beds in hospitals to treat the infected patients and tightened restrictions in areas where the disease has spread particularly fast, the country’s health ministry said on September 29.

Poland recorded 1,326 new coronavirus cases on September 29, the third consecutive day of over 1,300 cases. Late last week, the numbers nearly touched the 1,600-mark on two days.

Poland insists there will be no national lockdown after trying the measure in April, which drove an unprecedented economic decline of -7.9% (adjusted) in the second quarter. Instead, the government has adopted a targeted approach in which restrictions are imposed in counties, which have seen the number of new infections grow faster than the national rate.

In the counties marked as “yellow” zones, there will now be a limit of 75 people for public gatherings, including family events such as weddings. There will also be a limit of 100 people elsewhere in the country. The 50-person limit for meetings in the “red” zones remains.

The government has also ordered masks to be mandatory outdoors in the “yellow” zones, on top of the obligation to wear face protections in the “red” zones. The latter are also going to see a new restriction in which restaurants, pubs, and bars will have to close at 10 pm.

The health ministry also said it is making 1,200 beds available in hospitals to boost their capacity of taking care of the growing number of coronavirus cases. 

There are now a total of 8,000 “coronavirus beds” in Poland and over 800 ventilator beds, the ministry said. Of those, nearly 2,400 beds and 141 ventilators were occupied, the ministry said. 

Overall, Poland had 89,962 COVID-19 cases as of September 29, including 2,483 deaths.