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Questions and answers

Ladies and Gentlemen! The unusual situation that we are now in as a result of the epidemic raises many questions for all of us: How does public transportation work? Are there border checks? Who is entitled to additional childcare allowance? Answers to these and other questions are collected in one place and the contents of the tab are constantly updated. The questions are arranged by topic and you can find the issues you are interested in by using the search engine.

Regionalisation - additional restrictions in districts with the highest increase in the number of infections

So far, there have been three zones in Poland: green, yellow, and red. In the last two, there were additional safety rules in force. From 10 October 2020, the restrictions applicable to the yellow zones will be extended to the entire territory of Poland. The red zones will continue to exist as before, with their special rules.

What is  regionalisation?

Regionalisation consists in the introduction of new safety rules, but only in individual districts where the increase in the number of infections is greater than in the rest of Poland. The districts that are subject to the additional restrictions are divided into two areas: yellow and red – each with a different scope of restrictions.

Important! From 10 October 2020, the rules for the yellow areas apply in the entire territory of Poland, with the exception of districts that are in the red zone.

Since when have the additional restrictions in the red and yellow areas been in force?

Since August 8, 2020. From 10 October, 2020, the restrictions applicable to the yellow zone are in force in the entire territory of Poland, with the exception of districts that are in the red zone.

On what basis has regionalisation been introduced?

On the basis of the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 9 October 2020, on establishing certain restrictions, orders, and prohibitions in connection with the occurrence of the state of an epidemic.

Which districts will be subject to additional restrictions?

The list of districts where additional restrictions apply is being reviewed on an ongoing basis and may be subject to change. The current list can be found in the link.

What are the differences between the yellow and red areas?

As a part of regionalization, each district in Poland will be classified as one type of area.

The whole country becomes a yellow area, with the exception of the districts classified as a red area where the restrictions are stricter than in the rest of the country.

Details of the new rules can be found here.

What restrictions are in force in the red and yellow areas?

The full list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

 

Operation of schools in the new school year

Are students going back to school on September 1?

Yes, students are going back to school on September 1.

Is social distancing required at school?

Wherever possible, it is advisable to organise school in such a way as to keep a distance between people present at the school and to limit gatherings of pupils or students (e.g. different times of arrival of pupils or students from different classes at school, different break times, and different times of outdoor activities).

In addition, general hygiene rules apply: frequent hand washing, as well as covering the mouth when sneezing and coughing.

What if a student has symptoms that cause concern?

In this case, the principal or the student’s teacher must isolate the student in the designated room and then inform the parents, who must pick up the child from school. If necessary, the parents should take the child to a doctor.

If the symptoms indicate the possibility of coronavirus infection (upper respiratory tract infection, high fever, or cough), inform the nearest district sanitary and epidemiological station and follow its further recommendations. In the event of a positive test result, an epidemic investigation will be launched to identify the group of people who are potentially at risk. The school principal should follow the recommendations of the sanitary inspector. Persons who have had close contacts with the infected person can be put under quarantine (up to 14 days) and others who have not had direct contacts or whose contacts with the infected person have been brief can be subject to epidemiological monitoring and can continue to function, e.g. study or go stay in school. However, they should monitor their health, for example by taking their temperature.

Can the principal close the school?

Yes. The principal may temporarily suspend classes or switch to remote teaching. To do so, however, he or she must obtain the permission of the school’s supervisory authority and a positive opinion of the State District Sanitary Inspector.

What will teaching look like if the principal suspends classes or decides to close the school?

As in the previous school year, distance learning can be provided. It is also possible to introduce the mixed teaching option. What does it consist of? The mixed option makes it possible to alternate classes at school and remote teaching, e.g. one week each. The principal, in agreement with the supervisory activity, may also recommend another solution.

Will students from the districts in the red and yellow zones return to school on September 1?

Students who live in districts in the red and yellow zones will also return to school. Schools in these districts are bound by safety rules applicable throughout the country. However, the principals may decide to introduce additional safety rules.

Should students who are chronically ill (e.g. have immunodeficiency problems) but normally go to school attend classes held at school?

The decision should be made on the basis of the opinion of the doctor of the individual suffering from a chronic disease.

What should be done in a situation where a student has returned from a high-risk country shortly before the start of the school year?

Staying abroad does not mean that one will became infected and get sick. The student's attendance at school should not be restricted unless his or her health indicates illness and the country of travel was subject to border traffic restrictions.

Who should report that a school or educational institution is at risk?

Information, e.g., about a student's or staff member's illness, may come from a doctor or, depending on the situation, from parents, an adult student, the principal of the school or facility, or other members of the school staff who have been informed about the illness. Such information is subject to verification and risk assessment by the district state sanitary inspector.

The district state sanitary inspector carries out an epidemiological investigation and then, if necessary, takes steps to prevent the spread of infections and the disease.

Who should inform the principal that a student is infected?

There are two possibilities: the student’s parents or the sanitary inspectorate.

The ill student's parents inform the principal as soon as they receive a positive test result.

Information on each case of SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 illness is also sent (by the laboratory/doctor) to the district state sanitary inspector. In such a situation, the inspector contacts the student’s parents and then the school to carry out an epidemiological investigation on the school premises (among pupils and staff) and prepares a list of contacts of the infected person.

How can the school principal distinguish between the symptoms of influenza and COVID-19?

Based on external symptoms, respiratory tract infections cannot be clearly distinguished from those of COVID-19. These diseases involve fever and symptoms in the upper respiratory tract.

Whenever a child shows symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection, it is necessary to isolate him or her and to immediately contact the parents who should pick up the child from school. This is a standard precautionary procedure related to the current epidemic.

On the basis of which symptoms should the school principal isolate children?

If a school staff member notices that a student has symptoms that may suggest an infectious disease, including coughing, temperature indicating a subfebrile state, or fever, he or she should isolate the student in a separate room or a designated area, providing a minimum distance of 2 m from other people. The staff member should then immediately inform the parents of the urgent need to pick up the student from school. 

What rationale/criteria will the state district sanitary inspector use to give an opinion on the change of the teaching mode?

When issuing an opinion on a change in the teaching mode, the District State Sanitary Inspector takes into account epidemiological/clinical and organisational criteria.

The key epidemiological criterion is occurrence of at least one of the symptoms characteristic of COVID-19 (fever, difficulty breathing, coughing, or loss of smell or taste with a sudden onset) and close contact (within 14 days) of a student or member of the school staff with a person who has been confirmed as infected with SARS-CoV-2.

The organisational criteria include the number of COVID-19 cases in the school, the type of school, the urbanisation conditions/population density in the area, and the organisational/architectural conditions of the school.

Is it possible to establish separate criteria for suspension of classes for a group, an educational group,

This depends on the epidemiological situation.

If one of the students falls ill with COVID-19, then other students in that class have to be quarantined. Then remote teaching is the only way to continue their education. Whether other groups in the school can attend regular classes depends on the extent to which they were exposed to the infection.

The decision to switch to a mixed (hybrid) form of education is the subject of an individual opinion of the district state sanitary inspector, issued on the basis of the specific arrangements regarding organisation of school activities presented by the school principal.

Will it be possible to harmonize the criteria/guidelines for all sanitary and epidemiological stations and communicate them to school principals?

It is not possible to establish a scenario for each individual case. It is always necessary to follow the rules concerning the measures intended to counter COVID-19 and the general guidelines of the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate and the Ministry of Health.

Each school and institution has its own specific constraints. Therefore, the procedures must be adapted to the nature of the school (e.g. the size and the way the classes are organised, which affect the spread of infections between groups of pupils).

Will a procedure for communication between the principal and the district state sanitary inspectorate be established?

Decisions in this respect will be made locally by the individual sanitary and epidemiological stations, as appropriate. Nothing stands in the way of making it possible to make additional telephone numbers and email addresses available to school principals and managers of institutions when their emergency numbers become blocked due to overload.

Will a procedure for communication between the principal and the district state sanitary inspectorate be established?

Decisions in this respect will be made locally by the individual sanitary and epidemiological stations, as appropriate. Nothing stands in the way of making it possible to make additional telephone numbers and email addresses available to school principals and managers of institutions when their emergency numbers become blocked due to overload.

Will the district state sanitary inspectorate be guided by numerical indicators related to the number of diagnoses in a school/commune/district when issuing an opinion on reorganisation of classes?

The opinion will take into account the local epidemiological situation (the number of infected persons/the incidence/and the speed of increase), including cases of horizontal transmission and institutional outbreaks and their nature. 

Will the number of people suspected of being infected or infected in the school or institution determine the extent of suspension?

Yes. The opinion will take into account the local epidemiological situation (the number of infected persons/the incidence/and the speed of increase), including cases of horizontal transmission and institutional outbreaks and their nature.

If the suspension is due to exposure, infection, or illness of a student or a member of the school staff, its extent depends on the assessment of the risk of transmission of the infection to other pupils and staff members.

Will the district state sanitary inspectorate inform principals about teachers who have been put under quarantine?

No, but the affected teachers must do it.

The sanitary inspectorate will provide information about the teacher being put under quarantine. The decision may be transmitted orally and then delivered in writing once the reasons which prevented its delivery in that form have ceased to exist.

A teacher who has been put under quarantine should immediately inform his or her employer about the quarantine as the reason for his or her absence from work.

At the same time, the school principal as the employer - in consultation with the teacher - should determine whether the teacher can work remotely (conducting remote classes with students) and retain the right to 100% of his or her salary.

If the teacher is unable do his or her job [1], the decision to put him or her under quarantine will have the same effect as a doctor's sick note in the case of illness (the teacher will retain the right to 80% of the salary).

After receiving a written quarantine decision, the teacher should submit it to the employer without delay, as is required in the case of sick note.


[1] Inability to work within the meaning of Article 6(2)(1) of the Act of 25 June 1999 on social insurance cash benefits in the case of sickness and maternity.

Can a quarantined teacher work?

He or she can, but only remotely, if this is agreed with the employer - the school principal. Quarantine does not mean inability to work within the meaning of Article 6(1) of the Act of 25 June 1999 on social insurance cash benefits in the case of sickness and maternity, but constitutes inability to perform work in a specific manner.

The teacher in quarantine cannot work outside the place where he or she is spending the quarantine.   

Does a child from a family whose member(s) are in quarantine have to stay at home?

The child must stay home. All persons who live or stay in the same household with a person in quarantine must also be quarantined. Therefore, children whose parents are in quarantine are not allowed to come to school.

Is there a justification for removing from work teachers and school employees who are over 60?

The age of a teacher or school employee is not by itself a reason to keep him or her away from work. The fact is that, according to epidemiological data, these individuals are at a greater risk of a severe COVID-19 disease.

According to the guidelines of the Chief Sanitary Inspector, solutions to minimise the risk of infection (e.g. not being on duty during breaks between classes and, in the case of administrative staff, working remotely if possible) should be applied when organising work for persons over 60 years of age or with significant health problems which place them in the “high risk” group.

Does a teacher from the so-called high-risk group have to be provided with personal protective equipment?

It is the employer's responsibility to provide personal protective equipment. The law does not provide for any differentiation in access to personal protective equipment on the basis of the worker's age

Should persons suspected of being infected (teachers and students, other employees) at school put masks on immediately?

Yes, they should. Persons showing signs of a contagious disease, including in particular coughing in combination with high temperatures, should wear a mask and immediately isolate themselves from other persons. They are not allowed to teach or participate in classes. 

Should students who are chronically ill (e.g. have immunodeficiency problems) but normally go to school attend classes held at school?

The decision should be made on the basis of the opinion of the doctor of the individual suffering from a chronic disease. 

Should students provided with one-to-one tuition participate in classroom-based activities? Teachers teach them at their homes and have direct contact with them.

This decision should be made on the basis of the opinion of the student's physician, so as to take into account the health-related reasons for one-to-one tuition.

If someone is found to be infected, will the group, the staff, or perhaps all students and staff of the school be tested?

If an infection is found in students or school staff, the district state sanitary inspector carries out an epidemiological investigation aimed at identifying the group of people who are at risk. The results of the epidemiological investigation determine the scope of further action.

Persons who meet the criteria for close (direct) contact with a sick or infected person are put under quarantine. On the other hand, persons who have had contact other than direct are covered by epidemiological surveillance.

Those who are put under quarantine due to close contact with an infected person are asked, via a telephone application, to come to a mobile testing unit (drive-through) to have a nasopharyngeal swab on the 10th or 11th day of the quarantine.
In the case of persons who, due to lack of a car or for other reasons, cannot benefit from this testing method, the quarantine will automatically end after a maximum of 14 days without testing.

On the other hand, people who were not directly exposed to the source of infection (they did not have direct contacts with the infected person) may undergo screening tests. It should be emphasised, however, that mass testing is not a standard procedure and is carried out mainly in the case of outbreaks with a high number of ill persons, where there is a high risk of sustained transmission through occurrence of unidentified asymptomatic infections, especially in workplaces (e.g. mines), where it is not possible to stop the outbreak by suspending stationary work and switching to teleworking. Mass testing of persons who do not show any symptoms of disease and do not have contacts with the source of infection increases the likelihood of false positives in persons who are actually not infected.

In previous epidemiological guidelines, there was an indication that the employees/staff members of the entity should be instructed that if they have any worrisome symptoms they should not to come to work, should stay at home and contact the sanitary and epidemiological station, an infectious disease ward, and if their health deteriorates should call 999 or 112 and inform them that they may be infected with the coronavirus.

A person showing symptoms of infection, including fever, and in particular a person showing symptoms in the respiratory system, should have a teleconsultation with his or her primary care doctor. A primary care doctor has the right to issue a sick note for the person due to an infection of the upper respiratory tract (which also works as grounds for medical isolation), and if there are reasons to do so, to decide on further diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2 according to current medical procedures.  

Is social distancing required at school? Do children have to wear masks?

Wherever possible, it is advisable to organise and coordinate school work in such a way as to keep a distance between people present at the school and to limit gatherings of pupils or students (e.g. different times of arrival of pupils or students from different classes at school, different break times, and different times of outdoor activities), as well as to avoid frequently changing the rooms where classes are held. In addition, general hygiene rules apply: frequent hand washing, protection when sneezing and coughing, and avoiding touching the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. Masks should be used when it is not possible to keep a proper distance, e.g. during breaks in common areas, unless classes are held at different times. 

Can schools that function within medical facilities hold regular classes after September 1?

This decision should be taken by the head of the medical facility on the basis of an analysis of the health situation of the children in the facility (the profile of the diseases treated at the facility). 

Should reusable dishes and utensils be washed or scalded before being given out on the next day?

Reusable dishes and utensils should be washed in a dishwasher with a detergent, at the temperature of at least 60 °C, or be scalded. If the school does not have a dishwasher, reusable dishes and utensils should be washed in hot water with a detergent, and scalded.

Disposable containers and utensils should be required from catering providers. This is the case in schools where it is not possible to ensure proper conditions for washing dishes and portioning/serving the delivered meals. Proper sorting of used containers and utensils must be ensured.  

Should reusable utensils be given out to individual students or should they take them from a collective container?

The staff should issue clean sets of utensils with the meal. People entering the cafeteria should disinfect their hands before approaching the place where meals and utensils are served.

What should be done in a situation where a student has returned from a high-risk country shortly before

Staying abroad does not mean that one becomes infected and gets sick. The student's attendance at school should not be restricted unless his or her health indicates illness and the country of travel was subject to border traffic restrictions.

What rules should be adopted for students who attended weddings, funerals, or other large family gatherings shortly before the beginning of the school year?

Attending a ceremony or event does not mean becoming infected or ill. The procedure may be changed if the district state sanitary inspector has become aware of the need to put the child and his/her family under quarantine/isolation.  

There are students from different schools who live in boarding houses and dormitories. If classes are suspended in one of the schools the students from which live in the boarding house/dormitory, should the operation of the boarding house/dormitory be suspended, or should screening tests be performed on the other students residing in the boarding house/dormitory, and should its operation continue, or should another procedure be implemented?

Suspension of the operation of a boarding house or dormitory depends on specific circumstances and must be considered on a case by case basis in consultation with the relevant district state sanitary inspector.

If persons who live in a boarding house or dormitory are quarantined because of the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the school they attend, the other students may also be quarantined if it is not possible to isolate them effectively (shared bathrooms or kitchens).  

Should students wear masks in the shared spaces of a boarding house/dormitory where social distancing cannot be maintained?

Students should try to keep their distance during their stay in the boarding house/dormitory, take care of cleanliness in the rooms they use, wash their hands frequently with warm water with soap, and ventilate their living quarters.

The presence of outsiders in the boarding house/dormitory should be kept to a minimum, with all precautions (including covering the mouth and nose, using disposable gloves or hand sanitizers, allowing only healthy persons to enter) and only in designated areas

In the case of practical classes in schools and vocational training institutions where it is difficult to maintain distance between students due to the nature of the classes related to the specific characteristics of the trades, should it not be obligatory to cover the mouth and nose during classes, and to disinfect hands before using equipment, devices, or machines?

It depends on the specific characteristics of a given trade.  

Should general rules (including the obligation to cover the mouth and nose) apply to the organisation of free transportation (by communes) of students to schools?

Yes. Proper behavior on public transportation is regulated in the relevant laws [1]. Free transportation of and care for children and young persons, including those with disabilities, on their way to a kindergarten, school, or educational institutions are provided according to the rules applicable to public transportation: https://www.gov.pl/web/koronawirus/aktualne-zasady-i-ograniczenia

The obligation to cover the mouth and nose does not apply to people with comprehensive developmental disorders, mental disorders, moderate, severe, or profound intellectual disabilities, and those who have difficulties in covering or uncovering their mouths or nose on their own.   

Which recommendations should apply to physical education classes at school (including sports training) for both students and teachers? How should safety be ensured during music classes (singing and playing wind instruments)?

During physical education and sports activities where proper distance cannot be maintained, contact exercises and games (e.g. martial arts, gymnastics, basketball, and handball) should be limited and replaced by others (e.g. volleyball, athletics, cross-training, table and regular tennis, badminton, and cross-country running). Wherever possible, physical education classes should be held outdoor. Items and equipment in the room that cannot be effectively cleaned, washed, or disinfected must be removed or rendered inaccessible. Exercise equipment (balls, jump ropes, and hoops) used during classes should be cleaned or disinfected. In gymnasiums, sports equipment and the floor should be washed with a detergent or disinfected every day after classes and, if possible, after each class.

When learning music, each student should use his or her own instrument. Borrowed instruments must be assigned to specific students throughout the school year. No choral singing should be allowed.

What about children who travel to school by public transportation and school buses? Should students be recommended to walk, ride a bicycle, or use public transportation outside of rush hours?

No. When using public transportation, general safety rules [1] apply.


[1] Personal protective equipment (masks), as defined in the provisions of the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 19 June 2020 on establishing certain restrictions, orders, and prohibitions in connection with the occurrence of a state of epidemic (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1066, as amended).  

Why does a body temperature of 38 oC or more prevent you from attending classes?

A fever is considered to be body temperature of 38 °C or higher. Therefore, a child with such body temperature cannot attend classes and remain among other students.

Depending on the measurement method, different body temperature values are considered normal and elevated. Body temperature is considered to be correct if it is in the range of 36.6 to 37.0 °C. Body temperature can be within the range of approx. 37.2 to 37.5 °C for different reasons, e.g. metabolic problems, stress, or exercise. A subfebrile state is considered to be body temperature above the normal values, but not higher than 38 °C.

The accuracy of measurement with a non-contact thermometer is lower. The reading is affected by environmental conditions (ambient temperature, wind, and draft), the temperature of the device, the method of measurement (place and distance), and the skin of the person whose temperature is being measured (it should be dry).

The regulations on the restrictions imposed during the pandemic indicate a temperature of 38.0 °C as the criterion for not allowing a passenger to enter an airport/aircraft

Who should watch over an isolated student with symptoms? Should this person keep a distance and wear a mask?

If a child present at school is suspected of having an infectious viral disease, this should be done by a person designated in accordance with the procedures established by the school principal. The guardian present in the same room should keep the distance of at least 2 m and cover his or her mouth and nose with a mask.

Should we promote, especially as a part of physical education, going outside the school grounds (to swimming pools, parks, municipal sports fields, and playrooms)?

Holding physical education classes in open spaces should be promoted.   

What about female students who are pregnant? Should they automatically be taught remotely? Can they stay in boarding houses or dormitories?

Pregnant students, in the absence of health contraindications, may participate in stationary classes and stay in boarding houses and dormitories.  

Can overnight trips or only day trips be organised?

The organising of trips is allowed. When organising trips, the applicable laws and safety rules must be observed. 

How many hours can a child spend in front of a computer screen if classes are held remotely?

How many hours can a child spend in front of a computer screen if classes are held remotely?

The system of remote teaching should take into account the following principles: equal load on students with classes on different days of the week; different classes every day; and psychophysical abilities of students to make intensive mental effort during the day[1].


[1] These are principles that concern teaching and educational activities specified in sec. 4 of the Regulation of the Minister of National Education and Sport of 31 December 2002 on safety and hygiene in public and non-public schools and establishments (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1166, as amended) issued on the basis of Article 95(a)(2) of the Act of 7 September 1991 on the education system.   

When can parents send their children to school?

Only a healthy student who has no symptoms of respiratory tract infections and is not in quarantine or isolation at home can go to school.

What should students know before going to school?

They should remember to wash their hands frequently, especially after coming to school, before eating, after returning from outdoor areas, and after using the toilet, to cover their faces when sneezing and coughing, and to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. Students should have their own supplies and textbooks, which they can keep on the desk, in a school bag, or in their own lockers during classes. They should not bring unnecessary items to school.   

Can parents enter the school?

In general, we recommend restricting the entry of outsiders into the school. Parents or guardians may enter the common school space with their children, keeping a distance of 1.5 m from other parents and school staff members, and should take all precautions (including covering their mouths and noses and disinfecting their hands).  

Where can parents learn about the school's rules applicable during the pandemic?

The rules are be laid down in the school's regulations, which are prepared by the principal. This document should contain the recommendations indicated in the sanitary guidelines of the Chief Sanitary Inspector, the Minister of Health, and the Minister of National Education

Will students have their temperature taken before entering the school?

We recommend having a non-contact thermometer (at least 1 thermometer in each school) and disinfecting it after use in a given group. If the school has a thermometer other than a non-contact thermometer, it must be disinfected after each use.

How can parents contact the school?

The school principal will specify how to communicate quickly. We recommend that you contact your class tutor or school principal by phone.

Can students use the school’s coat room?

Yes. The principal will determine the rules for the use of the coat room, which make it possible to observe the safety rules, e.g. entry in groups. The child should be made aware of the need to disinfect hands before entering. 

Can students use the common room or the school library?

Yes, if the school is open. The principal will define the rules for the functioning of the common room during the pandemic in the school's regulations.

Can students use the school’s cafeteria?

Yes. The rules for using the cafeteria will be defined by the principal. Meals should be served in turns or, if possible, should be consumed by students from the same class sitting together at the same tables. If meals are served in turns, the table tops and chair arm rests should be cleaned after each group. In the absence of other  arrangements, children are allowed to eat in their classrooms.

Will there be extra-curricular activities in the school?

This will be determined by the school principal.  

Will there be a preventive health care office in the school?

It will operate according to the rules set by the school principal. If there is a dental office in the school, the principal will also specify the rules for using it and its business hours.

Will the students be able to use the school’s drinking fountain?

We recommend that drinking fountains be closed at schools. Nothing prevents students from bringing their own bottles of water or using other dispensers under the teacher's supervision, following the rules laid down by the sanitary and epidemiological inspectorate.

Can the students use the school’s sports field and playground?

It is recommended that students use the school’s sports field and stay outdoors on the school grounds.  

Do parents have to buy their children’s personal hygiene equipment, masks, gloves, and disinfectant for school?

Student must be provided with personal protective equipment on the way to/from school. There is no obligation to cover the nose and mouth on school grounds. Students can do it for their own safety. Soap, hot water, and disinfectant are provided by the school.

Does the child have to cover his or her mouth and nose when going to school on public transportation?

Yes. In this situation, the general rules laid down for municipal transportation apply.

The obligation to cover the mouth and nose does not apply to people with comprehensive developmental disorders, mental disorders, moderate, severe, or profound intellectual disabilities, and those who have difficulties in covering or uncovering their mouths or nose on their own.

Who doesn't have to cover his or her mouth and nose on public transportation on the way to school?

The obligation to cover the mouth and nose with clothing or parts thereof, a mask, a visor, or a safety helmet does not apply to persons who cannot cover their mouths or noses because of:
a) comprehensive developmental disorders, mental disorders, or moderate, significant, or profound intellectual disability;
b) difficulties in covering or uncovering their mouths or noses by themselves.

Can the principal introduce additional restrictions or safety measures at the school?

The school principal, regardless of whether the school is in the red, yellow, or green zone, may impose additional restrictions or safety measures, such as covering the nose and mouth when in the school’s common areas or during breaks. 

Will obtaining a doctor's opinion on the need to implement remote teaching for chronically ill students or those with a certificate stating the need for one-to-one tuition guarantee additional care benefits for parents?

Obtaining an individual medical opinion on the need to implement remote teaching in the case of chronically ill students or those who have a certificate confirming the need for one-to-one tuition is not tantamount to the right to receive care benefits intended for parents of children up to 8 years of age or a sick note to care for a child up to 14 years of age.

What about students in the classroom if one of them becomes infected?

If one of the students falls ill with COVID-19, then other students in that class have to be quarantined. Then remote teaching is the only way to continue their education. Whether other groups in the school can attend regular classes depends on the extent to which they were exposed to the infection.

The decision to switch to a mixed (hybrid) form of education is the subject of an individual opinion of the district state sanitary inspector, issued on the basis of the specific arrangements regarding the organization of school activities presented by the school principal.

Can I not send a healthy child to school for fear of infection?

The fear of infection/disease cannot be a reason for a healthy child not to go to school. 

Will a doctor's opinion on the need for remote teaching for a chronically ill student or one with a certificate confirming the need for one-to-one tuition be binding on the state sanitary inspector? Will a doctor always give a positive opinion about the need for remote teaching in such a case?

No, because the district sanitary inspector will assess the epidemic risk associated with COVID-19 on the premises or at the school. If the inspector considers that there is no danger, the opinion about remote teaching may be negative.  

What benefits are available to parents of children ill with COVID-19 and children in quarantine or under epidemiological surveillance?

Parents whose children have contracted COVID-19 receive sickness benefits for parents. Parents of children in quarantine, on the other hand, are also subject to quarantine due to the fact that they live in the same home. For this time, they are entitled to remuneration for sickness, sickness benefits, or care allowance (paid e.g. by the employer or the Social Insurance Institution) according to general terms.

The situation is different for parents of children under epidemiological surveillance. In this situation, parents are not entitled to the care allowance because the children attend school on a full-time basis.

What should a parent do when he or she has noticed symptoms that may suggest a contagious disease in his or her child?

If the parent notices symptoms in the child that may suggest an infectious disease, such as cough, fever, muscle aches and general fatigue, loss of the sense of smell or taste with a sudden onset, or a rash, he or she should first of all make the child stay at home, observe the child, and get a teleconsultation with a pediatrician.

If the parent is concerned about the child's condition (dyspnea, breathing difficulties), he or she should call the emergency number 112 or 999 or go with the child to a hospital with an infectious disease and observation ward.  ​​​​

Do students have to wear masks at school?

No. There is no recommendation that all students or teachers must cover their noses and mouths in every school, in common areas.

On the other hand, where school or local conditions (e.g. the size of the building, the school infrastructure, or a state of increased epidemic hazard) indicate that additional precautions need to be taken, then the principal should recommend covering the nose and mouth in common areas, such as hallways, staircases, and coat rooms. 

Do parents have to sign a declaration in which they undertake to waive any claims if their child becomes ill on school grounds?

Such statements have no legal basis. Parents do not have to sign them.

Can parents refuse to allow their child's body temperature to be taken at school?

There is no obligation to perform such measurements. In the event of increased risk or suspicion of illness, the school can take the child's temperature. In that case, parental consent is required. We ask parents to respect the school's regulations for sake of the health of their children and others.

Will a student with a fever be sent home and be taught remotely? 

If the infection is confirmed, the student will be placed on sick leave as was done in the past. Remote teaching can be introduced in case of a coronavirus infection on school premises. 

Can parents refuse to allow their child to wear a mask at school?

There is no obligation for students to wear masks at school, especially indoors during classes. The school may, however, require covering the nose and mouth in designated areas, e.g. in school hallways or during breaks, if the situation at the school so requires. The school operation rules, together with rules applicable during the pandemic, are specified in the school’s regulations. We ask parents to respect the school's regulations for sake of the health of their children and others. 

Can parents refuse to allow their child to disinfect his or her hands at school?

If the parents do not allow their child to disinfect hands, the child should wash his or her hands thoroughly with warm water and soap after entering school. 

Children must be taught to wash their hands frequently from an early age. This prevents many diseases, not just the coronavirus infection. It is especially important to wash hands after coming home, after arriving at school, before a meal, after returning from outdoors, and after using the toilet. 

Can parents refuse to allow keeping their child locked in the school’s isolation room in the event of suspected infection?

There is no locking of students in isolation rooms. The guidelines published by the Ministry of National Education, the Chief Sanitary Inspector, and the Ministry of Health provide for isolating students with suspected infection from other people until the parents arrive at school. This may be a room, a classroom, or a part of the school’s hallway where the student, under the care of a school staff member, waits to be picked up by his or her parents. 

 

Commerce

Are there limits on the number of customers in stores and shopping centres?

No, there are no longer limits on the number of customers present at the same time in a store or shopping center.

IMPORTANT! From 15 October 200, seniors’ hours are in place. From Monday to Friday, between 10 AM and 12 PM, only elderly persons are allowed to enter stores, pharmacies, and drugstores.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

Will gyms and fitness clubs in shopping centres be open?

Gyms and fitness clubs in shopping centres can be open from 6 June.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

Can I have a meal in the catering area of the shopping center?

Yes.

In the red zones, restaurants and catering outlets may be opened at specific hours, from 6.00 AM to 10.00 PM. The limited opening hours do not apply to services consisting in preparation and serving food to take away or preparation and delivery of food.

In the entire country, including the red zones, inside restaurants and catering outlets and in their gardens, customers are required to cover their mouths and noses until they take their seats where they will consume their food or beverages. There is also an occupancy limit: 1 person per 4 square meters.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

Are playgrounds in shopping centres accessible for children?

Playrooms can be open from June 6.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

Do I still have to wear gloves in stores?

Yes. Wearing gloves or disinfecting hands is still mandatory in stores.

Do stores have to provide gloves for customers?

Stores are required to provide disposable gloves or hand disinfectant. However, we recommend that customers have their own gloves.

Why is it necessary to wear gloves in stores?

Wearing gloves in public places reduces the risk of coronavirus infection. Remember! Wash your hands after taking off your gloves and make sure not to touch your face while wearing gloves.

When will the seniors’ hours become effective?

From Thursday, 15 October 2020.

 

Religious services, meetings, and events

Can more than 50 people attend a funeral? What about mourners who don't fit within the limit?

On May 30, the previous limit of funeral participants was lifted. Thus, more people may come to the ceremony. 

From 10 October 2020, persons attending funerals are required to cover their noses and mouths.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

How many people can attend weddings?

In yellow zones, until 16 October 2020, family events can be attended by up to 100 persons. From 17 October 2020, the limit is 75 persons, not including the staff.

In red zones, the maximum number is 50 persons, not including the staff.

Persons attending weddings, wakes, or first communion receptions, as well as other events, are required to cover their mouths and noses until they take seats where they will consume food or beverages.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

Do attendees have to wear masks at weddings?

Persons attending weddings, wakes, or first communion receptions, as well as other events, are required to cover their mouths and noses until they take seats where they will consume food or beverages.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

What is the limit for people present in a church?

In yellow zones, there is no limit on the number of persons: if a religious ceremony takes place inside a church, the persons attending it are required to cover their mouths and noses; this does not apply to the persons who celebrate the mass. If a religious ceremony takes place outdoors, the participants must keep the distance of 1.5 m from others and must cover their mouths and noses (this does not apply to the persons who celebrate the mass).

In a red zone: if a religious ceremony takes place inside a church, no more than 50% of building capacity can be filled and the participants must cover their mouths and noses. If a religious ceremony takes place outdoors, the participants must cover their mouths and noses and keep the distance of 1.5 m from others.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

How many people can take part in a demonstration?

From 10 October 2020, gatherings of more than 150 persons are prohibited. Moreover, the distance between gatherings may not be smaller than 100 m. The participants must keep the distance of 1.5 m from each other and must cover their mouths and noses.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

 

Culture and entertainment

Are museums and libraries open?

Since May 4, libraries, museums and archives can be open. Importantly, cultural institutions can do this gradually and at different times. The specific date is decided by the body running the institution after consultation with the district sanitary and epidemiological station.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

Are cinemas and theatres open?

Cinemas and theatres may be open since 6 June.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

Do I still have to cover my mouth and nose?

Yes, covering mouths and noses in public space, both outdoors and indoors, is mandatory.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

How many people can be present inside a cinema or theater?

In cinemas and theaters, the audience can occupy 25% of the seats and must keep the distance of 1.5 m from each other. Covering of noses and mouths is mandatory.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

 

Hotels and restaurants

Will I be able to use the gym, swimming pool, or recreation area during my stay in a hotel?

Swimming pools, gyms, and recreation areas can be open in hotels since 6 June.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

I want to go to a restaurant. Should I wear a mask while in the restaurant?

Yes, you have to wear a mask. It can only be taken off when you've taken a seat at the table. While waiting for a table, you should cover your mouth and nose. A proper distance between the tables and the applicable sanitary regimes (e.g. disinfection of the tables) must still be observed.

Do I still have to disinfect my hands in a restaurant?

Yes.

Can hotel restaurants serve meals to guests in hotel rooms?

Yes. This has been allowed since May 30. However, hotel owners must comply with certain sanitary rules, the same as those applicable to regular restaurants.

 

Are you going out of your home? Cover your mouth and nose!

Is a mask the only thing that I can cover my mouth and nose with?

No. It is also permitted to cover the mouth and nose with parts of clothing (e.g. a scarf).

Has the obligation to cover the mouth and nose been completely abolished?

No. Currently, wearing a mask is not mandatory only in situations where a distance of 1.5 m can be kept. If this is not possible - on a crowded sidewalk, promenade, or boulevard - you should still cover your mouth and nose. You should also wear a mask in certain indoor public spaces. Examples are stores, shopping centres, banks, churches, cinemas or theatres, as well as public transportation.

I’m attending a mass, but I'm standing outside the church. Do I have to wear a mask?

Worshipers participating in religious services who are inside the church building must wear a mask. There is no requirement to wear it outdoors - but only if you keep a distance of 1.5 meters from others. If there are no other people near you outside the church, you can take off the mask.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

I work in an office. Do I have to cover my mouth and nose there?

Not if the employer ensures adequate distances between workstations and compliance with sanitary requirements.

Do I need to wear a mask on a bus or train?

While on a bus or train, you have to cover your mouth and nose.

Do I need to wear a mask in a taxi?

Yes. Both the driver and the passengers should cover their mouth and nose during the journey.

Is a mask also required in a car?

If you travel alone or with members of your household, or with a child less than 4 years old, there is no obligation to cover your face. But if you travel with strangers, i.e. people who are not members of your household, you have to cover your mouth and nose.

Should I also cover my mouth and nose in a church?

Yes, the obligation applies in places of religious worship. Only priests who celebrate the mass are exempt from this obligation, as are persons performing the service.

Is covering the mouth and nose required in stores and marketplaces?

In stores, covering the mouth and nose is mandatory. In outdoor marketplaces, however, there is no obligation to do so, if the distance of 1.5 meters from others can be maintained.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

I am a farmer. Do I have to cover my face when I work in the field, on the farm?

No. Farmers doing farm work do not have to cover their faces.

Can I uncover my face if I'm in a bank withdrawing money and the teller wants to check if I'm the person I claim to be?

Yes. Police officers, border guards, bank tellers, and shop assistants can request anyone to uncover the face for identification. It is a duty to do so at their request.

I'm a cashier. How am I supposed to stay in the mask for hours? It's very uncomfortable.

Store and service point employees can cover their faces with a visor if all checkouts, points of sale, counters, etc. are separated from customers with an additional protective screen.

I work in a post office. I do some of my duties in the back and some at the counter. When do I have to cover my mouth and nose?

There is no obligation to cover your face in the workplace. The exception is when a person has contact with someone from outside - a customer, a visitor, etc. Therefore, a person serving citizens at the counter has to have his or her face covered, and the one working in the back room does not.

 

Sports and recreation

I practice jogging. Do I have to wear a mask while running?

The obligation to cover mouths and noses applies also to persons who practice recreational sports. They are not required to wear masks, e.g. when jogging in forests, parks, on lawns, in botanical gardens, in historical gardens, in family allotment gardens, and on beaches.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

Can I take a shower after training in a gym?

Yes. The use of the gym has been possible since 6 June.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

When will it be possible to use outdoor gyms?

Since 30 May. Since that day, you can also use playgrounds and small forest recreational infrastructure.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

 

When walking on a boulevard with a 5-year-old child, do I have to wear a mask or keep a distance of 1.5 m?

No. In such a situation, parents of children under 13 do not have to wear a mask or keep a social distance of 1.5 meters.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

Can I go to the swimming pool?

Yes.  In the case of swimming pools (indoor and outdoor) there is no limit on the number of persons present. There is still a limit on the number of people in water parks, which is equal to 75% of their maximum capacity.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

 

Will it be possible to use any sports facilities?

Yes, the restrictions on the use of sports facilities were lifted in the fourth stage of the “unlocking” of sports. However, the sanitary requirements and limits set out in the applicable regulation still have to be observed.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

Is it possible to use a sauna, a jacuzzi, or a paddling pool for children?

Yes.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

Can fans be at present in sports halls during tournaments?

Yes. The audience can fill 50 percent of the seats in the facility.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

How many players can be present at an Orlik football facility at the same time?

In the case of classes held at an Orlik, no more than 150 participants may be present This is the maximum number of the trainees and does not apply to the staff of the facility.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

Is physical activity allowed without a mask?

The obligation to wear a mask does not apply to people practicing any type of sports activities.

Is it possible to use dance halls?

Yes, dance halls are open, except for discos and nightclubs.

NOTE! The above rules may differ from the guidelines applicable to the districts assigned to the red and yellow areas.

A list of current restrictions for the red and yellow areas can be found here.

What should sports activities in martial arts look like?

There is no obligation to keep the distance of 1.5 meters during sports activities, as this is not objectively possible due to the specific nature of sport, in particular martial arts. However, it is recommended that participants use their own training equipment and disinfect their hands before and after a given activity. 

Can participants use the changing rooms and showers that are located in the sports facilities?

Yes, they can use the changing rooms and showers.

Is it allowed to use outdoor gyms and pull-up bars?

Yes, it is allowed.

 

For employees

Thanks to the special law that has been adopted, employees can work from their homes. Here is an explanation of what this means exactly. We also answer other questions related to the performance of work duties.

Until when will the additional care allowance be paid?

The additional care allowance will be paid until 20 September, but this period may be extended if necessary.

When can an employer require employees to do so-called remote work?

According to the regulations, in order to prevent coronavirus infections, employers may ask their employees to perform their duties for a certain period of time outside their normal workplace. This is called remote working. 
Pursuant to the adopted law, “counteracting COVID-19” means all activities related to the control, prevention of the spread, and counteracting the effects of the disease. Therefore, there are numerous grounds for requiring employees to work from home and, in practice, every employer, if only for the sake of prevention, can ask employees to perform remote work.

Can I ask to work from home?

The decision to ask employees to do remote work lies solely with the employer. An employee may of course ask for it, but such requests are in no way binding on the employer.

Is remote working different from teleworking?

No, the concept of remote working is broader than the concept of teleworking. Remote work within the meaning of this law simply consists in performing work outside the place of permanent work as required by the employer and in order to counteract COVID-19.

What is the difference between remote working and teleworking?

Teleworking involves working regularly outside the company using electronic means of communication. A teleworker is an employee who performs work under these conditions and communicates the results of the work to the employer, in particular using electronic means of communication. For example, this could be work performed on a computer and sent to the employer by e-mail.

In the case of remote working, however, an employee may perform work e.g. at home without using electronic means of communication (a computer and Internet).  For example, an employee working at home analyses documents, writes an opinion by hand, and transmits the effect of his work to the employer.

Will my salary change if my boss asks me to work remotely?

No. Your salary will not change. Remote working is a change of the place of work, but you are still working, so you should be paid the same amount as before.

How is remote working documented?

It is a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee. An order to work remotely does not have to be given in writing, but like any other work order, it can be given orally, by e-mail or in a text message. Your employer may confirm this order in writing.

How should rooms in a workplace where a person has been ill or suspected of being infected with the coronavirus be disinfected? Who should confirm that this disinfection has been performed?

The person responsible for disinfecting the room and the manner of its documentation should be specified by the employer. To disinfect the room, one can follow the guidelines of the Chief Sanitary Inspector for healthcare facilities (on disinfecting rooms where a person infected or suspected of being infected with coronavirus stayed), i.e. prevent use of the room where the infected person stayed, clean and disinfect surfaces, furniture, and equipment - after they are disinfected, they can be used again; ventilate the room, and disinfect the route(s) leading to the room that have been used by the infected person (stair handrails, handles, counters etc. - all items that the person could have touched); use disinfectants that kill viruses effectively.

I'm a courier and I’m in contact with a lot of customers and parcels. How should I behave?

Observe the basic prevention rules that significantly reduce the risk of infection: remember to cover your nose and mouth in closed spaces, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Keep a safe distance (1.5 m) from persons who cough, sneeze or have a fever.

Can employers impose a body temperature measurement requirement on employees and send them home in case of elevated temperature? If so, what is the limit temperature; if not, then why can’t employers do it, and can they do anything else to minimise the risk of infection?

As for temperature measurements required by employers, contact the State Labor Inspectorate. For certain types of work, there may be additional industry recommendations, e.g. for medical staff. Above all, common sense and basic principles of hygiene must be observed.

 

For students and universities

Detailed information is available on the website of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

How will universities work in the academic year 2020/2021?

It is the authorities of individual universities that decide on the way in which universities will organise their educational activities in the new academic year. They have the best knowledge of whether it is possible to organise remote teaching, as well as knowledge of the specific conditions of the fields of study where traditional forms of teaching are required. Regardless of the form chosen, it is important to remember the current sanitary and epidemiological requirements and the situation in the specific city and region, so that the new academic year is as safe as possible for everyone. 

The recommended way of organising education is a mixed model, in which a large part of lectures and seminars, as well as some classes and project activities, are conducted using distance learning methods and techniques. The remaining classes are held at the university.

What will the academic year opening ceremony look like?

When planning the opening ceremony to be held on the first day of the academic year, it is important to keep in mind the current epidemiological situation in the region - including the yellow and red zones. It is best to significantly reduce the number of people who will take part in the ceremony. The ceremony can be organised in a hybrid form. Students, doctoral students, university staff, and invited guests should, as far as technically possible, have the opportunity to participate in the ceremony on-line.

What will laboratory and clinical classes look like?

Laboratory and clinical classes in medical faculties should be organised in accordance with the Recommendations for ensuring safe organisation of laboratory and clinical classes at universities, prepared by the Chief Sanitary Inspector.

The recommendations focus on rules which, if implemented, will reduce the risk of coronavirus infection during classes. The requirements to be met to ensure safety of students, staff members, and patients include:

  • allowing only healthy persons, with their mouths and noses covered, to attend classes;
  • prohibition on bringing unnecessary items (including mobile phones) to class; and
  • requirement to use only one's own items (e.g. stethoscopes) and to disinfect items shared with others.
What will internships look like in the academic year 2020/2021?

Decisions on the form of internships are made by the authorities of the individual higher education institutions. However, they do so in consultation with employers, taking into account the current epidemiological situation. The final decision to introduce online activities should depend on the specific characteristics of the field of study and the internship. Not all internships can be conducted remotely. In this situation, the university may propose a different way of achieving the learning outcomes (e.g. simulated classes held by academic staff or practical projects carried out by students under the supervision of academic teachers) or carry out the internships at a later date. 

However, arrangements concerning internships must not adversely affect the situation of students. It is unacceptable to require students to pay a fee for repeating internships or impose other demands, e.g. conditional enrollment for the next academic year.

How will dormitories operate?

The way dormitories operate should be adapted to the situation of the specific university and to the epidemiological situation in the region. In order to ensure safety and minimise the possibility of infection for students and the staff of dormitories, it is necessary, among others, to: 

  • limit the contacts between the residents of dormitories; 
  • accommodate individual students in separate rooms with access to a bathroom, if possible; 
  • limit the number of people using the common areas at any given time; 
  • prohibit outsiders from visiting dormitories; 
  • provide disinfectants (we also recommend making protective masks available for purchase at the dormitories); 
  • provide equipment and products for daily cleaning work (with particular emphasis on ongoing disinfection of frequently touched surfaces - elevators, handrails, handles, light switches, holders, and flat surfaces, including kitchen work surfaces); 
  • designate a room in which persons with symptoms of the disease can be isolated; 
  • provide dormitory employees with access to personal protective equipment (protective masks, disposable gloves) and hand sanitizers.

  

For travelers and drivers - return to Poland, travel abroad

Until when will the restrictions on crossing the Polish border be in force?

On 13 June Poland restored cross-border traffic within the internal borders of the European Union. This means that you can travel and cross the internal borders of the European Union. Travelers have the right to free entry, exit, and transit through the territory of Poland. They don't have to be quarantined.

There is a landing ban for civilian aircraft on international flights from airports located in some countries. The full list is available in here

Who is not banned from entering Poland?

On 13 June Poland restored cross-border traffic within the internal borders of the European Union.

The external borders of the EU stay closed.

Only the following persons are allowed to enter Poland’s territory:

 

  • Polish citizens;
  • foreigners who are spouses or children of citizens of the Republic of Poland or are under their permanent care;
  • foreigners who hold the Pole’s Card;
  • heads of diplomatic missions and members of the mission’s diplomatic and consular staff, i.e., persons holding diplomatic ranks and members of their families;
  • foreigners with the right of permanent or temporary residence in the territory of Poland; and
  • foreigners having the right to work in the territory of Poland. That is to say, people entitled to work according to the same rules as Polish citizens, who hold a work permit, a certificate of entry in the seasonal work register, a declaration on entrusting the performance of work to a foreigner in the territory of the Republic of Poland, and who are:
    • persons employed in the territory of the Republic of Poland or
    • persons holding present documents showing that their employment will start immediately after crossing the border;
  • foreigners who drive a means of transport used for transport of persons or goods and their journey takes place as a part of professional activities involving transport of goods or persons;
  • drivers performing carriage by road as a part of international road transport or combined international transport, traveling through the territory of the Republic of Poland by a means of transportation other than the vehicle in which the road transport is carried out:
    • in order take a rest in the country they are staying in;
    • after taking the rest abroad referred to above and after a break in the performance of work in the circumstances specified in the act on drivers’ working time;
  • pupils, students, post-graduate students, and doctoral students who study in Poland;
  • scientists conducting research or development works in Poland;
  • citizens of member states of the EU, a member state of EFTA - a party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation, as well as their spouses and children;
  • foreigners holding a European Union permanent residence permit or a long-term residency permit for staying in the territory of other member states of the European Union, a member state of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) -  parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation, as well as their spouses and children, in order to transit through the territory of the Republic of Poland to their place of residence or stay;
  • foreigners traveling by aircraft, within the meaning of Article 2(1) of the Act of 3 July 2002 - Aviation Law, on an international flight, who are citizens of Georgia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Tunisia, the Commonwealth of Australia, or have the right of residence in the territory of these countries;
  • persons crossing the Polish border on the basis of a national repatriation visa or a visa to come to Poland as a member of the repatriate's immediate family;
  • foreigners who arrive in connection with participation, as a competitor, training staff member, doctor, physiotherapist, or referee, in international sports competitions at championship level organised in the territory of Poland by an international sports federation active in Olympic or Paralympic sports or other sports recognised by the International Olympic Committee or organised by a continent-wide international sports organisation belonging to such a federation, as well as accredited journalists, after documenting for the Border Guard officer the fact of taking part in the competition, as well as the date and nature of the participation by a relevant letter issued by the organiser of the competition or certified by a Polish sports association for a given sport;
  • foreigners who arrive in connection with participation, as a competitor, training staff member, doctor, physiotherapist, or referee, in international sports competitions organised in the territory of Poland by an international sports federation active in Olympic or Paralympic sports or other sports recognised by the International Olympic Committee or organised by a continent-wide international sports organisation belonging to such a federation or a Polish sports association, as well as accredited journalists, after documenting for the Border Guard officer the fact of taking part in the competition, as well as the date and nature of the participation by a relevant letter issued by the organiser of the competition or certified by a Polish sports association for a given sport;
  • foreigners crossing the Polish border on the basis of a visa issued for humanitarian reasons due to the interest of the state or international obligations (in force since 26 August 2020).

In particular justified cases, not specified above, the commander of the Border Guard post, after obtaining the consent of the Chief Commander of the Border Guard, may allow foreigners to enter the territory of the Republic of Poland.

I'm a professional driver. I crossed the border. Do I have to undergo mandatory quarantine?

No, drivers driving in international road transport (including international combined transport) are exempted from compulsory quarantine after crossing the national border.

I'm now abroad. Can I go back to Poland?

Every Polish citizen is allowed to return to Poland.

Where can I ask for help to return to Poland if I am in a country where there is no Polish embassy?

Contact the consul of the Republic of Poland accredited in the territory of that country and provide him with your personal data and contact details, as well as information on the current situation and place of your stay. For contact details, see here.

Where should I report if I have lost my passport/ID and I am abroad and would like to return to Poland?

Contact the nearest Polish consular post and apply for a temporary passport to return to Poland. For contact details, see here.

Is it possible to leave Poland?

Yes.

After coming back home, are all household members required to be in quarantine?

Yes. Please contact your local sanitary and epidemiological station for details.

Is it possible to contact the hotline if I am abroad?

Yes. Dial Poland’s country code +48 and then 800 190 590. For those calling from Polish telephone numbers, there is no need to dial the country code. Any problems with making the call may be due to operator limitations. In such a case, contact the operator.

Does the lack of quarantine obligation also apply to e.g. citizens of Ukraine, who are employees of a Polish company and who transit through Poland directly to Germany where they work?

Ukrainian citizens are exempted from the quarantine obligation if they work in a Polish company and go to Germany starting from Poland. When they cross an external border of the EU, they are exempted from quarantine if they fulfil certain conditions.

Does an exemption from the quarantine obligation mean that those working abroad can visit their families and return to their workplace?

Yes, as long as they live within the internal borders of the EU.

 

Quarantine

Below you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions related to quarantine.

On what basis have new rules on quarantine and isolation been introduced?

On the basis of the Regulation of the Minister of Health of 1 September 2020 amending the Regulation on infectious diseases resulting in the obligation of hospitalisation, isolation, or home isolation and the obligation of quarantine or epidemiological surveillance.

Since when do the new rules on quarantine and isolation apply?

Since 2 September 2020.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Quarantine means seclusion of a healthy person due to exposure to a hazard. Isolation means seclusion of a person whose first coronavirus test is positive.

The result of my coronavirus test was positive. I'm in isolation at home. During the isolation, I had symptoms of coronavirus that I didn't have before. How many days will I have to stay in isolation?

If symptoms of coronavirus occur during isolation at home, the primary care physician makes a decision to extend the isolation, and the isolation may not be terminated earlier than 13 days after the symptoms started (the last 3 days must be without infection symptoms).

How many days does hospital isolation last?

In the case of isolation in a hospital or an isolation room, the decision to end the isolation is made by the doctor taking care of the patient. It may not end earlier than 13 days after the onset of the symptoms and the last 3 days must be without symptoms of disease.

I had contact with an ill person. How many days do I have to be in quarantine?

The length of the quarantine imposed by the health inspectorate, as well as the quarantine for persons crossing the national border, has been shortened to 10 days; also, asymptomatic persons in quarantine are no longer tested.

I had contact with an ill person. I'm in quarantine. Do I have to take a coronavirus test?

If you don't have any worrying symptoms, you won't have to take a coronavirus test. The length of the quarantine imposed by the health inspectorate, as well as the quarantine for persons crossing the national border, has been shortened to 10 days.

I crossed the national border and I'm in quarantine. Do I have to take a coronavirus test?

If you don't have any worrying symptoms, you won't have to take a coronavirus test. The length of the quarantine imposed by the health inspectorate, as well as the quarantine for persons crossing the national border, has been shortened to 10 days.

I have tested positive for coronavirus, I'm in home isolation, and I have no symptoms. How many days will I have to stay in isolation?

Home isolation lasts for 10 days if the patient has no symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms of coronavirus occur during isolation at home, the primary care physician decides whether to extend the isolation, and the isolation may not be terminated earlier than 13 days after the symptoms started.

What is the situation of persons in quarantine? Are there any penalties for non-compliance?

As part of patrols, police officers visit those people who are in quarantine and check if they are present in their place of residence. Italy's experience shows that failure to comply with quarantine rules is one of the main reasons for a very rapid spread of the virus. Unjustified violations of quarantine rules are penalised, including by high financial penalties. We cannot put the health of others, including our parents, grandparents, and elders, at risk. Those who violate the quarantine order are dangerous to others. The regulations provide for a fine of up to PLN 30,000 for those who do not comply with the quarantine rules. The decision on the specific amount of the penalty is always made on a case by case basis.

I'm in quarantine because I came back from abroad. What kind of sickness benefits am I entitled to?

In such a situation, a person who has sickness insurance, e.g.:

  • an employee (compulsory insurance);
  • contractors (voluntary insurance); and
  • persons conducting non-agricultural activity (voluntary insurance)

are entitled to financial benefits on account of sickness: remuneration for the duration of the sickness paid by the employer under Article 92 of the Labor Code or sickness benefits.

I have been in quarantine, but I have not received the administrative decision of a competent sanitary inspector. Why?

As a rule, in the case of quarantine, the basis for payment of benefits is a decision of the competent health inspector or a medical certificate (in the situation referred to in Article 35(1) of the Act on preventing and combating infections and infectious diseases in people - described in the section on determining the right to sickness benefits). However, according to the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 19 June 2020 on establishing certain restrictions, orders, and prohibitions in connection with occurrence of a state of epidemic (Journal of Laws, item 1066, as amended), the obligation referred to in sec. 2(2)(2) (the quarantine obligation resulting from that Regulation) is equivalent to the obligation resulting from Article 34(2) of the Act of 5 December 2008 on preventing and combating infections and infectious diseases in people. The decision of the health inspection authority is not issued. The basis is an entry in the relevant ICT system (the EWP system).

Does the sanitary inspectorate have to issue certificates of quarantine for persons returning to Poland after the introduction of quarantine?

When crossing the national border, persons returning from abroad receive information about having to be in quarantine and a leaflet with instructions on how to proceed.

If a person with coronavirus is identified in a light commercial vehicle at the border, does the vehicle have to be put in quarantine? When can another driver start driving this vehicle?

The driver has to be quarantined. The vehicle must be disinfected before another person drives it. In particular, attention must be paid to things touched in the vehicle very often with hands, such as the gear shift knob, the steering wheel, and the turn signal levers. Personal belongings of the quarantined person should be secured in such a way that they cannot infect other people. On washable surfaces, disinfectants that kill viruses effectively should be used. The vehicle also needs to be ventilated. Unnecessary items must be removed from the cabin.

What should a quarantined family do when a grandmother is about to return home from a hospital after treatment? The hospital will charge for the extra days of the grandmother's stay.

The hospital will not charge the costs, because we assume that the grandmother has health insurance. If there are no family members who can take over the care of the grandmother, you should contact your local social welfare entity or the municipality or commune by phone. You can also contact the hospital and tell them what the situation is. Perhaps a social nurse working in the hospital can help (in some hospitals, this function may have a different name or the related tasks are performed by a designated nurse).

To whom can one report a change of the address given in the statement at the border if the person who returned to Poland is not staying at that address, but in a different place?

Quarantine must be spent at the location indicated in the card. The location where quarantine is spent must not be changed, as this would involve exposing other people to a potential risk of infection. Leaving the assigned quarantine location carries the penalty of a fine of up to PLN 30,000.

If a person has returned from abroad and is in quarantine but feels well, can they work remotely from the place where they are in quarantine?

There are no problems with that, provided that the performance of work will not involve violating the instructions issued by the sanitary inspector (described in the leaflet that people returning to Poland receive at the border).

What rules apply to homeless people? How are they quarantined and who supervises them?

In case of public safety concerns, specific situations can be reported to the police or to social welfare entities (depending on the problem observed). If necessary, quarantine may take place at a location indicated by the province governor.

Do participants of international sports competitions have to be quarantined?

No. The exemption from the quarantine obligation for participants in international sports competitions applies to:

  • athletes;
  • training staff members;
  • doctors and physiotherapists;
  • referees; and
  • accredited journalists.

The exemption applies to persons who take part in competitions organised by:

  • an international sports federation active in Olympic or Paralympic sports or other sports recognised by the International Olympic Committee;
  • a continental-level international sports organisation belonging to a sports federation; or
  • a Polish sports association.

Persons who cross the Polish border must present to the Border Guard a letter issued by the organiser of the sports competition. It may also be a document - certified by a Polish sports association for a given sport - that contains data concerning the organisation of a sports competition, its date, and the nature of the person’s participation.

 

Assistance, medical and sanitary services

Do you suspect that you have coronavirus?

Are you not feeling well, do you have a fever, a cough, or problems breathing? You think it's coronavirus? Stay calm and find out what to do.
If you have the following symptoms:

  • subfebrile state (body temperature between 37 °C and 38 °C);
  • symptoms of a cold; or
  • coughing and difficulty breathing,

call the nearest sanitary and epidemiological station or use a teleconsultation with your primary care doctor.

Don't go to an emergency room and don't use public transportation.

For more information see: : https://www.gov.pl/web/koronawirus/podejrzewasz-u-siebie-koronawirusa

How do heath resorts operate?

Health resorts and sanatoriums can be open since 15 June. On the basis of referrals confirmed in the provincial branch of the National Health Fund, sanitariums are open to those patients who:

  • have confirmed referrals for a sanatorium treatment after 15 June - their stay is based on this referral;
  • they were to start their sanatorium treatment between March 14 and June 14;
  • they had to stop their sanatorium treatment due to the pandemic (their stay was less than 15 days long); and

they are the next patients in line waiting to start their treatment.

Important! Until further notice, the condition to start:

1) sanatorium treatment or rehabilitation;

2) sanatorium treatment of children performed under the care of adults

is a negative result of a diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2 for the patient and the child's caregiver, performed not earlier than 6 days before the date of commencement of the spa treatment or rehabilitation.

Are there any guidelines/procedures for medical staff working in a hospital?

Yes, the relevant information can be found at: http://www.gis.gov.pl/

What can I get by using teleconsultation?

During a medical teleconsultation, you can get:

  • a recommendation;
  • an electronic sick note;
  • an electronic prescription; or 
  • a suggestion to make a personal visit at the medical facility or to contact the sanitary-epidemiological station if necessary.

Medical teleconsultations:

  • reduce the risk of the spread of coronavirus;
  • facilitate isolation of people who may infect others with the virus;
  • dispel concerns if the situation is harmless; and
  • reduce the waiting time for medical appointments.

There is no fear that teleconsultations will make personal visits at the doctor’s office impossible. If necessary, after a remote interview, patients may be advised to visit a medical facility or contact a sanitary and epidemiological station. In addition, in accordance with the recommendations of the Chief Sanitary Inspector on the procedure for Primary Healthcare and Night and Christmas Healthcare in connection with the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, patients should receive extensive information about the need to contact a clinic by phone to determine whether a visit at the clinic is possible.
The registration assistant should:

  • inform every patient about the possibility of a teleconsultation;
  • conduct a preliminary qualification survey for SARS CoV-2 coronavirus infection during the telephone call.

Every patient, including one without any symptoms of infection, who wants to see a doctor should first attend a teleconsultation. Only when necessary, an appointment should be made for a specific time. Based on medical history and assessment of the patient's health, the doctor providing a teleconsultation can issue a sick note.

NOTE: assessment of whether or not it is appropriate to issue a sick note in a given situation (depending on the patient's health) is the sole responsibility of the specific doctor. At the same time, the decision to impose quarantine is made by the district state sanitary inspector. Such a decision is equivalent to a sick note and the doctor is not required to issue one. Remote visits (teleconsultations) can also be used by patients who continue care at a specific specialised clinic (as a part of ambulatory specialised care) according to an established treatment plan and the patient’s clinical condition. In other words, they cannot be used by patients who are coming to a clinic for the first time or patients whose health requires a personal visit to the clinic. The decision whether or not a patient can use a teleconsultation is made by the specific doctor. The doctor may decide that he or she wants to examine the patient in person, e.g. because of the need for a physical examination on which further diagnostic and therapeutic decisions will depend.

What can I do if my primary care doctor refused to provide a teleconsultation?

In accordance with the current decision of the President of the National Health Fund on the conditions for conclusion and implementation of contracts for provision of healthcare services in the field of primary healthcare, the provider performing a contract on the provision of primary healthcare services, such as a general practitioner, a primary healthcare nurse, or a primary healthcare midwife, is obliged to ensure that the patient can take advantage of remote healthcare services. However, the teleconsultation hours are determined by the primary healthcare provider. In addition, once the medical history data has been collected, it may turn out that the patient’s condition requires an examination of the patient in a medical facility or an urgent intervention in a hospital.
Therefore, proper actions by the primary healthcare provider include:

  • indicating to the patient the time when the teleconsultation is to take place;
  • indicating that the patient must appear in person at the clinic for a physical examination by a doctor/nurse (this applies especially to people with chronic diseases, but may also be the case when symptoms of concern are reported by phone);
  • informing the patient that in a given situation he or she has to go to another medical facility, such as an emergency room or a hospital admission room, or to call an ambulance;
  • asking the patient to come to the clinic in order to issue a prescription, a referral, or a sick note (this may be required especially when new drugs are to be recommended, a referral is to be made for image tests, or the symptoms described by the patient are of concern to the medical staff).

If, on the other hand, the primary healthcare provider refuses to conduct a teleconsultation without giving the reason, or if the teleconsultation does not take place within the limits indicated above, the patient has the following options:

  • to report the case to the Manager of that medical facility and ask for intervention;
  • to file a complaint with the National Health Fund against the healthcare provider who has concluded a contract with the National Healthcare Fund for the provision of healthcare services (separate script);
  • to ask the Patients’ Ombudsman for intervention (during the working hours, the Patient Hotline is able to transfer the call);
  • to change the primary healthcare provider if the patient is not satisfied with the previous one (twice a calendar year this can be done free of charge; if done more frequently, the fee is PLN 80).

The Patient Hotline consultant from the National Health Fund part should inform the patient that the Patients’ Ombudsman's hotline is operated from 8 AM to 6 PM on weekdays. The consultant may offer switching to line 2 or, if this is not possible, inform the patient how he or she can be transferred after calling the Patient Hotline again.

Where can I get a prescription if I can’t reach the primary healthcare provider by phone and I am refused  a prescription during a personal visit at the medical facility? 

It is the doctor who decides whether a prescription is necessary. Your options are:

  • a teleconsultation during which you can get a prescription for medicines that you take routinely;
  • leaving a written request for the issue of a prescription for medicines that you take routinely;
  • a medical appointment in the case of new medicines and a medical examination in the case of medicines that you take routinely.

If the above steps have not had the desired effect and you need a prescription for medicines that you take routinely, you should first contact the manager of the clinic. Other options available to the patient are:

  • to report the case to the Manager of the given medical facility and ask for intervention;
  • to file a complaint with the National Health Fund against the healthcare provider who has concluded a contract with the National Healthcare Fund for the provision of healthcare services (separate script);
  • to ask the Patients’ Ombudsman for intervention (during the working hours, the Patient Hotline is able to transfer the call);
  • to change the primary healthcare provider if the patient is not satisfied with the previous one (twice a calendar year this can be done free of charge; if done more frequently, the fee is PLN 80).

The Patient Hotline consultant from the National Health Fund part should inform the patient that the Patients’ Ombudsman's hotline is operated from 8 AM to 6 PM on weekdays. The consultant may offer switching to line 2 or, if this is not possible, inform the patient how he or she can be transferred after calling the Patient Hotline again.

Will a patient coming to Poland with an EHIC card be treated in case of coronavirus infection?

The EHIC card confirms the holder’s right to receive, during a stay in another EU Member State, medical services that are necessary for urgent medical reasons (regardless of whether the cause is an accident or a communicable disease), taking into account the nature of these medical services and the expected duration of the stay.

Therefore, the medical services related to treatment of COVID-19 symptoms - which are urgent and arise during a stay in Poland - will be provided on the basis of the EHIC card.

Will a patient traveling to an EU country with an EHIC card be treated in case of coronavirus infection?

The EHIC confirms the holder’s right to receive, during a stay in another EU Member State, medical services that are necessary for urgent medical reasons (regardless of whether the cause is an accident or a communicable disease), taking into account the nature of these medical services and the expected duration of the stay.

The card provides evidence that its holder has the right to receive medical services in the EU Member State where he or she is staying in order to prevent the card holder from having to return to his or her own state or the state of his or her residence before the end of the intended stay in order to receive the required treatment. The purpose of such services is to enable the insured person to continue his or her stay in safe conditions. The medical services are provided according to the rules applicable to insured persons in the country of stay.

Although the card is used, the patient may be charged a part of the costs in accordance with the law of the country where he or she is staying.

Important ! A person who wants to go to another European Union country, despite the recommendations of the Chief Sanitary Inspector, should additionally be aware of co-payments in some European Union countries. Such costs can be very high for a stay in an intensive care unit, for example. Depending on the course of the COVID-19 illness and the complications, the patient may require a stay in an intensive care unit.

If the person decides to travel to another country anyway, he or she should consider taking out additional commercial insurance to cover any co-payment costs. 

During a stay in another EU member state, sanitary authorities may require the person, if ill or suspected of being infected, to be subject to similar supervision measures as determined by a sanitary inspector in Poland. This means that the stay may be forcibly extended, which will entail additional costs of living and, in the case of people who are employed in Poland, absences from work for a longer period than expected.

If a patient has no insurance and is a foreigner, will he or she be treated in Poland for free?

An uninsured patient with coronavirus symptoms will not be charged with the costs of:

  • sanitary and epidemiological tests;
  • healthcare services provided to combat COVID-19; and
  • healthcare services required due to COVID-19.
Do I have to submit the original referral for an appointment/treatment to the hospital or clinic?

From 14 March 2020 until further notice, patients are not obliged to provide the original referral to a healthcare provider (hospital, clinic) in connection with the patient’s inclusion in the waiting list for healthcare services. The patient should provide the original of the referral within 21 days from the end of the state of epidemic emergency, but not later than on the date of the provision of the healthcare service on the basis of that referral.

How will official matters be handled by the National Health Fund, which currently operates to a limited extent?

Specific information can be obtained from the head office and the provincial branches of the National Health Fund.

Where can I submit an offer to sell medical devices?

In order to streamline the process of placing and fulfilling orders for medical devices and personal protective equipment used in the fight against COVID-19, the Purchasing Platform has been launched on the website of the Ministry of Health, which will enable a simple bidding process. On the Platform, suppliers may submit tenders directly on the request for tenders and electronic auction websites.

Who makes decisions to close healthcare facilities (e.g. a clinic where children are diagnosed)?

Restrictions on visiting patients - hospitals

The decision to restrict visits to patients is made by the head of a given healthcare facility; depending on the hospital, it can be e.g. the director, the president of the management board, or the commandant.

Temporary closure of a facility (clinic, emergency room, or outpatient clinic) due to the need to implement sanitary and epidemiological procedures

When a patient who is ill or suspected of being ill with COVID-19 comes to a healthcare facility other than an infectious disease hospital, certain sanitary and epidemiological procedures must be implemented. Such procedures include, for example, removing from work the medical staff who are in direct contact with the patient, disinfecting rooms, and limiting the possibility of contact of the patient with other patients. Depending on the circumstances (e.g. the premises available and the staff on duty), the necessary procedures may involve temporary closure of the facility. For example, if one doctor receives patients at a given time and he or she has direct contact with the patient, his or her removal from work will make it necessary to call another doctor; until the new doctor arrives, the facility cannot provide medical consultations. Similarly, if it is necessary to disinfect key premises, it will not be possible to obtain healthcare services in the facility during this time. Such closure results directly from the procedures that are in place, which are mandatory for the staff of the facility, depending on the situation.

Reduction to the necessary minimum or temporary suspension of the provision of scheduled services or services provided in accordance with an agreed treatment plan

The decision to reduce or temporarily suspend provision of healthcare services, taking into account the epidemic recommendations, is made by the management of the healthcare facility concerned.

Important! With the introduction of the state of epidemiological hazard, some medical facilities have been converted to infectious disease hospitals, which results in a reduction or suspension of admissions.

In the case of a root canal treatment, is it necessary to suspend the treatment due to the current situation or can the treatment be continued?

Call your dentist to discuss this issue. Only he or she can provide information on the consequences of postponement of the treatment. You have to decide whether or not to suspend the treatment.

What should be done in the case of a severe or chronic/progressive illness when it is impossible to sign up because this is a first visit?

Contact the healthcare facility where the treatment is planned. If, because of the coronavirus, the provider has suspended the provision of healthcare services, it will set a new date for its provision.

If the patient cannot sign up, please use the search engine and find another date (it may result in a significant delay).

What should people who require dialysis do if a coronavirus is suspected or someone is infected at the dialysis station? What steps should they take?

Healthcare facilities, especially those caring for the chronically ill with such facilities as dialysis stations, have procedures in place for such situations. The dialysis station will certainly provide information on what steps it has taken to minimise the risk of infection. Also, it should be pointed out that general recommendations for healthcare facilities have been issued. For example, staff members who are in close contact with an ill person and or a person suspected of being infected with coronavirus are usually provided with protective clothing that protects them from infection and thus from transmission of the infection to other patients. If there is a close contact between a staff member and a person suspected of being ill, the staff member is removed from work until the result of the person's diagnostic test for coronavirus is known (further treatment depends on this result).

My child is entitled to free dental/orthodontic treatment until the age of 12. The clinic where the treatments were to take place cancelled the visits due to fear of coronavirus, and the child will soon turn 12. Is it possible to extend the period of free visits after the child turns 12 years old?

The matter is regulated by the Regulation of the Minister of Health of 1 July 2020 amending the Regulation on guaranteed dental treatment services. It provides for the possibility to “extend the age” of the recipient of the the services who lost right to the services during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

For seniors

What should an elderly person do if he or she wants to stay home because of the coronavirus but cannot ask his or her family or neighbors for help with shopping?

The person should contact the nearest social assistance centre. How can this be done? Access the website gov.pl/koronawirus/pomoc:

  1. select the province from the list below and search the address list to find the social assistance centre closest to your place of residence;
  2. call the centre, say you what you need help with, and give your contact details;
  3. the staff of the centre will organise help, e.g. they will find a volunteer who lives in the area and has declared a willingness to help others;  
  4. the staff at the centre will provide you with information about who can help you, when, and how. 

 

Food

Should we stock up on food?

No. Grocery stores are open as usual. There is no need to stock up. Poland is one of the largest food producers in Europe and there is no risk of food shortages.

Can the virus be transmitted through food?

On 9 March 2020, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a statement that, to the best of its current knowledge, there is no evidence that food may be a source or an intermediate link in the transmission of SARS COV-2. 

The EFSA emphasises that, on the basis of experience with SARS and MERS viruses, it can be concluded that people do not get infected with SARS COV-2 through food. Consequently, it is unlikely that the virus is transmitted through food and there is no evidence to date that this is the case. The EFSA emphasises that it is constantly monitoring the situation regarding the SARS COV-2 outbreak, which has caused the spread of the disease in a large number of countries. Microbiological safety of food can be maintained by strictly observing the basic principles of food safety that serve to prevent its contamination, including secondary contamination during distribution and sales.

What should be done to keep food safe?

Follow the FIVE KEYS TO SAFER FOOD recommended by the WHO.

Does heat processing destroy coronavirus?

The coronavirus is destroyed when an appropriate combination of time and temperature is used, e.g. 60 oC for 30 minutes. Thus, for meat and raw food products, typical heat processing eliminates microbiological contamination, including SARS COV-2.

What actions should an informed consumer take?

In a store:

  • People who frequent stores, supermarkets, and shopping centres should always remember that they are responsible for their own health and the health of others.
  • Avoid crowded areas if possible and keep an appropriate distance while waiting in lines.
  • Remember hand hygiene and proper hygiene when sneezing and coughing, especially when packing loose, unpackaged food, i.e. bread, confectionery, or nuts.
  • Remember to cover your nose and mouth.
  • Hands in the shop are in contact with work surfaces and cash. Use the plastic gloves and bags that are provided for packaging.
  • It is unhygienic to pick and choose, and to touch products that are intended for consumption without washing and heat treatment (e.g. bread, rolls, and confectionery).
  • Pay attention to proper respiratory hygiene: do not cough and/or sneeze in the direction of other people or goods.

At home:

  • Maintain proper hygiene when washing and preparing food. This is of key importance not only for the coronavirus, but especially for typical microbiological contamination that leads to food poisoning.
  • Wash hands, kitchen utensils, work surfaces, and cutting boards.
  • Always remember to separate raw products from those already prepared for consumption to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen.

The WHO recommends following the FIVE KEYS TO SAFER FOOD.

 

Stop disinformation

Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over the body kill the novel coronavirus?

No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over the body will not kill viruses that have already entered the body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to your skin and mucous membranes (i.e. eyes and mouth). Both alcohol and chlorine can be useful for disinfecting surfaces, but should be used as recommended.

Do hand dryers effectively kill the novel coronavirus?

No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing SARS-CoV-2019. To protect yourself from the novel coronavirus, you should wash your hands frequently with water and soap and disinfect them with an alcohol-based liquid. After washing your hands, dry them thoroughly using paper towels or a hot air dryer.

Can a UV disinfectant lamp kill the novel coronavirus?

UV lamps are designed to disinfect spaces and should not be used to sterilise hands or other skin surfaces, as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

Do pneumonia vaccines protect against the novel coronavirus?

No. Pneumonia vaccines, such as the pneumococcal vaccine and the Haemophilus influenza B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the novel coronavirus. The virus is so new and different that there is no proper vaccine yet. Scientists are trying to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2019 and the WHO supports their efforts. Although these vaccines are not effective against SARS-CoV-2019, it is recommended to take them according to the vaccination schedule.

Can regular rinsing of the nose with saline solution prevent infection with the novel coronavirus?

No. There is no evidence that regular rinsing of the nose with saline solution protects against infection with the novel coronavirus. There is some limited evidence that regular rinsing of the nose with saline can help mucous membranes to regenerate more quickly when you catch a cold. However, regular rinsing of the nose does not prevent infections of the respiratory tract.

Can eating garlic prevent infection with the novel coronavirus?

Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is currently no evidence that eating garlic protects against the novel coronavirus.

Can cold weather and snow kill the coronavirus?

There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the coronavirus or other diseases. Normal temperature of the human body is about 36.5 to 37 oC, regardless of the temperature outdoor and the weather. The most effective way to protect against the novel coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently with water and soap and to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. You should also avoid close contact with anyone who coughs and sneezes.