Morawiecki: Poland to reopen EU borders on Saturday
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday (June 10) Poland would reopen its borders with fellow EU member states on Saturday (June 13), and allow international flights from the following Tuesday (June 16).
Poland will open its borders with fellow European Union countries on Saturday and allow international flights from next Tuesday, the prime minister said on Wednesday, as the country unfreezes its economy despite an increase in coronavirus cases. "In some countries... this pandemic is still behaving in a very disturbing way, so for now we limit this decision (opening borders) to European Union countries," Mateusz Morawiecki said.
Poland closed its borders to foreigners in March to stop the spread of the coronavirus. However, it has been progressively loosening restrictions on public life, with shopping centres, hotels and restaurants all reopening in May.
Poland has seen a recent rise in infections, mostly centred around coal mines in the south. On Monday 599 new cases were reported, a record. As of Wednesday morning Poland, a country of around 38 million people, had reported 27,668 cases of the coronavirus and 1,191 deaths.
Flights to return
"From June 16, flights will be available again, although carriers will have to adapt. Likely, they will need a week or two, or maybe three, to prepare flights schedule, booking and so on. We're establishing communication with our national carrier - LOT - so it could appropriately plan its return to providing services," the PM said.
"We're in an important stage of fighting the coronavirus. (...) We don't know what will happen in a month, two or three. What we can say today though, is that we're managing the risk rightly," Morawiecki added.
Brussels to propose a plan
The spokesman for the EU Commission, Adalbert Jahnz, said on Wednesday that Poland had informed the EU executive that from June 13 it would lift restrictions and controls at its borders with other EU member states.
Earlier on Wednesday, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, announced that Brussels would propose a plan of gradual reopening of EU's external borders. He explained this process would commence on July 1, and each country would have decide this issue individually. So far, the external borders of the bloc have been closed for non-essential travel.
Borrell's announcement suggests that all external borders would be opened simultaneously. Brussels wants the reopening to take place in a coordinated manner, based on pre-established criteria.
Germany and Austria
Germany will lift border controls with Switzerland, France, Austria and Denmark on June 15, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Wednesday, adding the government would reconsider if the coronavirus situation deteriorates. Seehofer also said existing rules for non-EU citizens wanting to come to Germany would be extended until the end of June.
Austria is lifting checks at its border with Italy and ending quarantine requirements for arrivals from 30 other European countries as of June 16, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said on Wednesday. Officials had told Reuters on Tuesday that Austria would lift coronavirus-related restrictions on arrivals from more than 20 European countries, including Italy, from June 16, but details were ironed out at a ministerial meeting on Wednesday morning. The lifting of restrictions will not apply to Britain, Sweden, Spain and Portugal, Schallenberg said. Austria will continue to advise against travel to Lombardy, Italy's hardest-hit region, with a partial travel warning, he added.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters, PAP