Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Poland - Statistics & Facts
The beginning of 2020 will be remembered as a period in the global fight against COVID-19, which, due to its virulence and the modern mobility of mankind, has spread on an unprecedented scale.
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (originally named 2019-nCoV) was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The World Health Organisation declared a pandemic situation on March 11, 2020. The first confirmed coronavirus case in Poland was diagnosed on March 4 in Zielona Góra, in the western part of Lubuskie Province.
Dynamics and development of the COVID-19 epidemic in Poland
In March 2020, Poland had declared a state of epidemic emergency due to the SARS-CoV-2 (COViD-19) outbreak. Many restrictions had been introduced regarding the functioning of institutions, establishments, shopping malls, hotels, catering outlets, and public and private transport. It was also forbidden to organize any gatherings or events. As more people become infected with COVID-19, the government decided to tighten regulations even more. Underage citizens were allowed in public spaces only with an adult. Poland's State Forests agency had banned entry into forestland. Access to outdoor recreation spaces such as parks, beaches, boulevards, promenades was restricted. The lockdown of Polish borders had also been extended. All Polish citizens and foreigners entering Poland who were entitled to do so would also be subject to compulsory 14-day house quarantine. International passenger air and rail connections had been suspended.
At the beginning of June 2020, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki summarized the fight against the coronavirus epidemic. In his opinion, Poland has effectively dealt with the epidemiological crisis. Meanwhile, the two summer vacation months brought record increases in COVID-19 infections.
From October 1 to 18, the number of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections detected in Poland increased by nearly 82.3 thousand (88 percent) and the number of deaths of COVID-19 patients by 1030. From this month on, the number of cases in Poland breaks new records. A significant increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19 coronavirus and the number of deaths forced Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to introduce new safety rules from November 7, 2020. However, since April 2021, epidemic data has been satisfactory. COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions are declining. In May and June, the government will gradually open the economy, mainly in the catering, tourism, sports, and culture sector. In December 2021, the first case of a new coronavirus variant called Omicron was diagnosed. On May 16, 2022, the Ministry of Health decided to end the epidemic state in Poland and transformed it into an epidemiological emergency.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Polish economy
The effect of the pandemic is most clearly visible when looking at stock market indices. The WIG20 index on the Warsaw Stock Exchange fell to levels recently observed during the financial crisis of 2008. Polish GDP growth following supply shocks due to trade disruption, and economy lockdown fell by 2.7 percent in 2020.
The government has decided on measures to help SMEs, which will inevitably suffer from the coronavirus crisis. A law, also called the Anti-Crisis Shield, includes extended loan guarantees for small and medium-sized enterprises, the self-employed and employees with unsecured employment contracts, as well as the facilitation of social security payments. It also exempts micro-enterprises and self-employed persons from paying social security contributions (ZUS) for three months. The package comprises a total of five pillars, including job protection, health care financing, financial system stability, support for businesses, and public investment.
For further information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please visit our dedicated Facts and Figures page.
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