COVID-19: Potential return of restrictions to stop new pandemic wave

Photo: PAP/Andrzej Grygiel

The government is considering some border closures and the return of restrictions in some regions to prevent the new surge of COVID-19 infections, said the Health Minister Adam Niedzielski in a radio interview he gave to Radio Zet on Saturday.

Border Closures

Mr Niedzielski explained that the authorities are considering closing the southern borders of Poland.

Currently, people crossing the border by means of mass transport are required to present a negative test for coronavirus. Authorities are working on extending this requirement to private vehicles.

“Borders will remain open for people who will present a negative test for coronavirus,” said Minister Niedzielski. However, the situation will be monitored and adjusted accordingly.

Regional Approach

Asked about the scale of potential restrictions, such as shop and school closures, the Minister added that the current approach considers introducing restrictions regionally, i.e. in the regions with the highest number of infections, such as Warmia and Mazury in north-west Poland, which currently is the coronavirus hot spot in the country.

“Indeed, we are considering the reinstatement of restrictions regionally. We have not made a decision yet. We will be making one at the beginning of next week for sure, but indeed, the region of Warmia and Mazury stands out significantly from other regions in the country, therefore when considering reinstatement of restrictions, we will be thinking regionally,” confirmed the Minister.

Back to Distance Education?

Mr Niedzielski did not provide a definite answer regarding the mode of learning in the upcoming weeks. However he commented on the impact the pandemic has had on children and youth in regards to their development, education, and socialisation.

“It seems that schools are the last to be closed, because there are other aspects, which unfortunately are also costly, in a social sense, related to school closures, because it impacts child development and normal functioning of parents. So from my point of view, schools are last in the line for closures, because school closures or a return to distance learning carry a huge cost, in the development sense, for children,” explained the Minister.

Peak of the Third Wave

Asked about the estimated timing of the peak of infections in the upcoming third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister pointed to March and April, and added that “the rate of pandemic development is the key, because we went from a few hundred cases more per week to a few thousand cases more per week, from one week to the next. If this dynamic continues to grow, we will make decisions about restrictions,” concluded Minister Niedzielski.