The Polish government on March 11 ordered a two-week shutdown of all educational facilities and public places like cinemas and museums in an effort to impede the coronavirus pandemic.
Poland has so far registered 31 cases of coronavirus infection. Hundreds of people suspected of having the infection remain in hospitals, nearly 1,200 in quarantine and close to 12,000 under monitoring, according to a daily update from the health ministry, published on the evening of March 11.
Closing down schools and other public spaces is a preventative measure so that Poland avoids a situation similar to the one currently unfolding in Italy, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a press conference.
Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski appealed to schoolchildren and their parents not to treat the shutdown as “holidays”. “You might consider it a kind of quarantine for the entire society. It is not free time, spend it at home,” Szumowski said.
The extent of the pandemic’s impact on the Polish economy is far from clear. The government currently expects Poland’s GDP to slow down by 0.5pp-1.3pp compared to earlier expectations for this year. The government assumed growth of 3.7% in 2020 in the budget bill.
Some analysts expect the impact might be more serious, bringing down growth to as low as 1.6% this year.