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PI Alert

Polish government announces new restrictions

At a joint press conference, PM Mateusz Morawiecki and MinHea Łukasz Szumowski announced a ban on gatherings of more than two people (it does not concern family members). The government also limited reasons why people may leave their homes. It is only possible when it is absolutely necessary, which means that Poles can travel to and from work, for medical reasons, and to do their shopping. Furthermore, it will be allowed to walk a dog or to go for a walk. The Polish government limited the maximum number of passengers in public transport (only half of the seats can be taken, there should be at least one free seat between the passengers). New restrictions will apply from March 25th. Previous restrictions are still in force.

PI Alert

Government introduces state of epidemic

• "To prevent a further spread, limit it, implement adequate rules, also in quarantined areas, we are implementing today a state of epidemic," said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. In contrast with the state of epidemic danger, it allows for creating "zero zones" around a virus outbreak, which would make it possible to close entire cities. This means that by a decree signed by a voivode (or MinHea for all of Poland), could direct people, especially medical staff, to assist in battling an epidemic. The government also decided to extend the closure of schools through Easter (Easter holidays were to start on April 9) and raised penalties for breaking a quarantine from PLN 5,000 to PLN 30,000. However, the introduction of the state of epidemic does not mean a delay of the presidential election.

• President Andrzej Duda, in a televised address, announced that he would convene another National Security Council on Monday, March 23, to discuss the "crisis shield" plan announced by the cabinet. He also thanked the medical services and citizens involved in the fight against the virus and called on people to treat security rules seriously.

• The Sejm praesidium, which met today, discussed the way next week's session will be held. During this sitting, the MPs are to discuss the senate's amendments to the budget and the "crisis shield". The final decisions will be taken on Tuesday. According to our information, the sessions is planned for Friday, March 27. At today's meeting, the parties discussed two main scenarios for the sitting: spreading out the MPs throughout the Sejm building or a remote session.

• During a news conference, the prime minister said that the draft legislation introducing the "crisis shield" is nearly ready and is being finalised by MinDev. It includes around 50 amendments to various laws that would help companies and workers to get through the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. According to our information, on Thursday night, MinDev received several dozen pages of amendments from various ministries. Over the weekend, MinDev wants to consult with social partners about the legislation. According to PMChanc head Michał Dworczyk the cabinet wants to pass the legislation by circulating it among the ministers. Dworczyk added additional changes could be introduced at the last minute.