PM calls for cross-party unity in face of coronavirus threat

Addressing an extraordinary sitting of the Lower House on Monday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called for cross-party unity in the face of the threat of the coronavirus.

“Let this be a frontline of struggle with the coronavirus, not a frontline of a political struggle,” said PM Mateusz Morawiecki, adding that “in this fight, we must stand united. I appeal for this and I appeal that everyone works together on this matter. In order to stop the expansion of the coronavirus, we not only need interministerial work, but we also need cooperation between the central government and the local authorities, and also between the government and the opposition.”

"Our uniform approach to this issue, a calm, toned-down, and cross-party-based dialogue is extremely important to properly prepare society for the emergence of this epidemic," Mr Morawiecki added.

"The current debate is the best proof of how seriously we approach this problem," Morawiecki added thanking President Andrzej Duda for the initiative of convening an extraordinary Lower House session on the issue.

According to the PM, Poland is prepared "in the best possible way" for a potential occurrence of coronavirus in Poland. "Each effective and wise strategy must be preceded by dialogue and best practices implemented into the system," he said, also noting that three cases have already been recorded in the Czech Republic.

The prime minister also said that the Polish government has initiated a number of activities on the EU forum, including a meeting of the EU Council, requested by Polish Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski. He added that he has also discussed the problem with European Council President Charles Michel and the PMs of the Czech Republic and Hungary, Andrej Babiš and Viktor Orban.

Virus not yet in Poland, global mortality low

Addressing an extraordinary sitting of the Lower House on Monday, Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski said that in Poland 121 persons had been hospitalised and undergoing tests, 237 had been put in quarantine while over 3,600 were under epidemiological supervision.

He also said that although no case of coronavirus had been confirmed in Poland, the pathogen would surely appear in the country.

“Our actions lead to having everyone informed how to proceed, how to deliver lacking resources and provide Poles with information. In an epidemiological situation… it is important to follow guidelines,” said Mr Szumowski.

The Health Minister went on saying that “there is no vaccine for the virus. The patients who require treatment are provided symptomatic treatment.”

“Infectious diseases hospitals are on standby. Right now, not all beds in these hospitals are occupied, not all beds in intensive care wards are occupied,” Mr Szumowski said, adding that the results of coronavirus tests have been constantly monitored. "If there is a positive result (...), the public opinion will be immediately informed," he said.

The minister reported that over 80 percent of worldwide cases of coronavirus were such that the patients went through a mild infection, lung inflammation and dyspnoea occurred in 14 percent of cases and 5 percent suffered from severe respiratory failure.

“The virus is similar to other corona-type viruses. This means that it can survive on surfaces for a couple of minutes to nine days. Given this fact, a minute risk exists of it being spread on products whose delivery time exceeds one week,” said the minister.

Mr Szumowski also recalled that re-infections occurred among patients who had already recovered from the coronavirus infection, adding that these data had not been confirmed yet by medical sources.

The minister also warned against misinformation about the coronavirus that had been noted in social media.