"No need for emergency state yet". Poland tries to avoid lockdown

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gf
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TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters
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There's no need to think about introducing a state of emergency as of yet, but if the situation gets really worse, such a need may emerge - the chief of the ruling PiS party's parliamentary club Ryszard Terlecki said on Monday. Poland's Health Ministry informed about further 4,394 infections and 35 deaths on Monday.

Since the start of the pandemic Poland has reported 130,210 coronavirus infections and 3,039 COVID-related deaths.

On Monday, Deputy Speaker of the Sejm Ryszard Terlecki (PiS) told journalists in the Sejm that there was no need to declare a state of emergency at the time. "When we look at other countries, declaring state of emergency there did not change much, like in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. However, if the situation really worsens, then such need may emerge" - he explained.

"That was in the summer, but we all were aware that the second wave would come and now it has just begun" - Terlecki replied when asked about PM Morawiecki's "declining epidemic" comment he had made during the campaign.

Asked about his assessment of the government's readiness to tackle the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Terlecki said: "excellent".

"I think that if we manage to keep the infection rate at 4-5 thousand a day, than it shouldn't be bad. The health service will handle that" - Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska said on Monday in Radio Plus. "It's crucial to prevent the infections from snowballing" - he added.

New measures

Poland announced new measures on Saturday to curb the coronavirus pandemic after reporting record infections for a fifth straight day, but it stopped short of introducing mandatory distance learning for schools.

Seniors would now have special shopping hours every morning from 10am to noon, and care homes would receive an extra 38 million zlotys in government funding, Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference.

However, Morawiecki said that there was no need to shut schools yet, after he had indicated the government might do so earlier this week.

"For today we don't see the need to introduce mandatory distance learning," Morawiecki said, adding the government would hold a weekly re-evaluation to decide if further restrictions were needed to curb the pandemic.

Restrictions announced on Thursday, including wearing masks outside at all times, went into effect on Saturday. The additional measures targeting seniors will go into force starting October 15.

Avoiding lockdown

Morawiecki has previously not ruled out introducing a state of emergency if case numbers continue to climb. However, on Saturday he said the government was keen to protect the economy, avoiding another full lockdown.

There were street protests around the country on Saturday against the order to wear masks.

Polish authorities have sought to reassure the public that hospitals can cope with the rise in infections, but doctors have warned the system could soon face serious difficulties.

Poland's Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told the news conference that the government was working to increase the number of available hospital beds and that it had signed a deal for 80,000 units of remdesivir, a drug used to treat COVID-19.

Autor:gf

Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: PAP/Leszek Szymański