The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 causes an illness called COVID-19. Its most common symptoms include: fever, cough, breathing difficulties, muscle pain, and fatigue.
How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. You can also get infected if you touch anything that has been sprayed with the carrier’s respiratory droplets and then touch your face – your nose, eyes, ears and mouth. The virus can survive for several hours on surfaces covered with discharge such as saliva, so it is vital to wash your hands often.
How do the symptoms develop?
80 percent of infected people have mild symptoms. Older people and those with weakened immune system and chronic conditions may develop severe complications.
What is the mortality rate for COVID-19?
About 3.4 percent of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection resulted in death, compared to less than 1 percent for seasonal flu. However, COVID-19 spreads less efficiently than flu.
What should I do if suspect I am infected?
There are three situations in which there is a higher risk of COVID-19 infection: in the last 14 days you have travelled to areas where the virus is spreading, you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you are coughing, have a fever and breathing difficulties. If any of these is true for you, you should immediately call a sanitary-epidemiological station or go to an infectious disease or observation and infectious disease ward whose staff will decide on a further medical procedure. When in doubt or if you do not know what to do, call a 24-hour helpline: 800 190 590.
Where can I find the latest updates on the COVID-19 epidemic in Poland?
Visit the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate (GIS) [information in Polish] and Ministry of Health (MZ) [information in Polish] websites in Polish which post information on current actions, recommendations and the sanitary-epidemiological situation. The English versions of the websites will present the most important updates.
What does epidemiological threat mean?
On 12 March 2020, epidemiological threat was announced in Poland. This is another measure taken by the Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Therefore:
- 19 hospitals have been transformed into isolation hospitals to accommodate those in need of medical help. There will be one additional isolation hospital set up in each voivodship, and two such hospitals in bigger regions. This kind of medical facilities will only treat people suspected of having contracted coronavirus. The goal is for beds with respirators to account for 10% of places at the converted facilities. The list of hospitals could be downloaded from the Ministry of Health website [information in Polish].
- In accordance with the law, medical personnel may be seconded to those facilities that are vital in preventing the epidemic’s spread.
- Other people may also be delegated to such work, if it is justified by the current needs of authorities in charge of combating the epidemic.
- Another contemplated measure is increasing the number of laboratories which perform coronavirus testing. Right now there are such 15 labs.
- Those ordered to remain in quarantine will also undergo diagnostic tests. At the moment several thousand testing kits are available, with new deliveries being contracted.
- Quick screening tests will be administered if WHO recommends their use.
It also means that the Minister of Health, by way of new ordinances, may introduce:
- temporary restrictions on specific forms of transport,
- temporary restrictions on the trade in and use of specific items or food products,
- temporary restrictions on the functioning of specific institutions or workplaces,
- bans on mass events and other public assemblies,
- obligation to perform specific sanitary procedures, if their performance is connected with the functioning of specific manufacturing, service, commercial or other facilities,
- orders to make available properties, premises and sites as well as to provide means of transport for the purposes of anti-epidemic measures provided for in anti-epidemic action plans.
Where to call if I have any questions?
Ministry of Health hotline – 800 190 590 (24-hour service). Information is also available in English.
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