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Further coronavirus restrictions to be lifted from Saturday on

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TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters
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TVN24Polish health service has undergone a real test during the pandemic

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has announced the details of the next stage of loosening coronavirus restrictions in Poland. The changes are to include lifting of the duty to wear protective masks in public places, as well as of limited number of customers in shops and restaurants.

Poles will be allowed to go outside without protective masks from May 30 and cinemas, theatres and gyms will reopen on June 6, the government said on Wednesday, part of a steady lifting of restrictions imposed to halt the spread of the new coronavirus. Public gatherings of up to 150 people will be allowed in coming days, while limits on the number of people in churches will also be relaxed in the staunchly Catholic country.

Poland, a country of 38 million people, has so far reported 22,303 cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, and 1,025 deaths, far fewer than other larger European countries. "At the moment the number of sick people is falling, also the number of deaths is falling, which is the best measure of control over the epidemic," Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski told a news conference. "Eighty percent of hospital beds dedicated to COVID patients are vacant, 90% of respirators are not in use while awaiting patients with COVID," Szumowski added.

At the same event, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced a time frame for the next stage of easing restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

- from May 30, people will no longer have to wear protective masks in public places, but 2-metre social distancing will still be compulsory.

- protective masks will still be compulsory in closed spaces such as shops and churches

- from May 30, limits on number of customers in shops and restaurants will no longer be in place

- from May 31, limits on number of people in churches will be lifted

- from May 31, outside gatherings for up 150 people will be allowed

- from June 6, cinemas, theatres, massage salons, solariums, gyms and fitness clubs may reopen

- from June 6, up to 150 guests will be allowed at weddings

Election in June?

PM Mateusz Morawiecki also reiterated the government's desire to hold a delayed presidential election next month. The election, originally set for May 10, was cancelled due to the pandemic. "I'm sure the election should and will take place in June," Morawiecki said. It remains unclear, however, whether the government can win necessary opposition support in parliament for a June election date. Poland was among the first European countries to impose a strict lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. This included travel bans, school closures and a shutdown of its borders. The restrictions have been gradually eased since late April. Schools are expected to remain closed until the end of June, when children also start summer holidays. Borders will also remain effectively closed until at least mid-June.

Autor:gf

Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters