Poland registers 13th COVID-19 fatality

Photo: PAP/Jakub Kaczmarczyk

A 71-year-old man has died of COVID-19 in Bolesławiec and 31 one new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, the Health Ministry reported on an early Wednesday afternoon. The death toll of SARS-CoV-2 in Poland has thus risen to 13.

Two other coronavirus fatalities were reported earlier on Wednesday, namely a 41-year-old-man and a 71-year-old-man who died late on Tuesday night at an infectious diseases hospital in Wrocław.

According to a spokesperson from the J. Gromkowski Specialised Provincial Hospital, the 41-year-old man passed away after several days struggling against COVID-19 in the hospital’s intensive care ward.

The spokesperson added that “another, older man, who was brought to the hospital in the evening also died during the night.” That person, a 71-year-old man, also succumbed to COVID-19, the Health Ministry reported later on Wednesday morning

The number of coronavirus cases in Poland rose to 957, as of Wednesday morning.

Emergency measures

In an attempt to minimise the spread of COVID-19, the Polish government has ordered a 10-day border lockdown, which is effective as of midnight March 14. Those foreigners without a valid residence permit, a work visa or a family reason are not permitted to enter until further notice. They will be placed in a 14-day quarantine.

Moreover, domestic flights have also been suspended.

The resolution on a state of epidemic was enacted on Friday. It will not change the date of the Polish presidential elections planned for May this year.

The state of the epidemic means that schools will remain closed until Easter. The school suspension will not change the dates of official exams. The special care benefit for parents of children that must stay at home will be extended for an additional 14 days.

Minister of Health Łukasz Szumowski explained the new state of epidemic means, among others, that the Minister of Health in Poland and heads of provinces may designate new roles for medical personnel to combat the epidemic. The resolution introduces changes in the principles of grocery stores operation. "We have introduced restrictions in the transport industry and shopping malls. Grocery stores will be opened in shopping malls so that basic products can be purchased," Mr Szumowski said.

Prior to the introduction of the state of the epidemic, a 14-day-long state of epidemic threat has been in force from March 14. It includes controls on the country’s borders, as well as numerous restrictions imposed on services such as pubs and shopping malls.

Schools, at all levels of education, as well as museums, cinemas and theatres, have been closed since March 12. Supermarkets, pharmacies and laundries, however, are exceptions and remain open.

Wherever feasible, employers are encouraged to approve working from home and Poles are asked to stay at home as much as possible.

As of March 24, Poles are forbidden from leaving houses unless for the most necessary reasons, such as work, shopping, visiting a drugstore seeing a doctor or walking the dog. Government's ordinance also allows only up to half of seats to be taken in public transportation.