Polish government presents plan to lift COVID-19 restrictions in May

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki during a press conference on the coronavirus pandemic situation in Warsaw, Poland. [EPA-EFE/Pawel Supernak]

The Polish government has unveiled plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions gradually over the next month, with grades 1-3 returning to in-person schooling full-time as of 4 May.

According to government statistics, there are now more than 25,000 COVID-19 patients in Polish hospitals and approximately 3,000 of them are in intensive care units, fewer than just a fortnight ago. The hospital bed occupancy for COVID-19 patients is still more than 50%, while the ventilator occupancy is more than 65%.

The government, however, predicts that the decline in new infections seen over the past two weeks will continue.

“The third wave has most likely passed its climax. We have enough hospital beds available. However, we must approach the eagerly awaited resumption of many activities with patience and humility,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said.

Museums and art galleries will also be able to reopen from 4 May, while DIY and furniture shops, as well as shopping malls, will also be able to reopen.

Hotels will be able to reopen on 8 May, but without wellness and spa areas and without service in restaurant rooms or hotel bars. However, the number of guests admitted may not exceed 50% of the normal capacity.

If the rate of new infections were to be less than 15 per 100,000 inhabitants on 15 May, the obligation to wear masks covering the mouth and nose when outdoors may be lifted. The obligation to socially distance and wear masks indoors will remain.

Schools from this date will also be opened to more classes, with grades 4-8 of primary schools and 1-4 of secondary schools will start alternating between in-school and distance learning.

The final phase of the May easing of restrictions will begin on 29 May, when in-person education is planned to resume fully. However, most universities and colleges decided some time ago to maintain remote learning until the end of the academic year, especially since most will organise exams in June.

(Anna Wolska | EURACTIV.pl)

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