End of epidemic state

Minister of Health Adam Niedzielski informed at a press conference that from 16 May the state of epidemic will be transformed into the state of epidemic emergency.  The epidemic state was in force in Poland from 20 March 2020.

According to the Act of 5 December 2008 on preventing and combating infections and infectious human diseases, the state of an epidemic is a legal situation introduced in a given area in connection with the occurrence of epidemic in order to undertake anti-epidemic and preventive measures specified in the Act to minimise the effects of the epidemic.

A state of epidemic emergency, on the other hand, is a legal situation introduced in a given area in connection with the risk of an epidemic.

Many restrictions have already been cancelled – since 28 March it has not been necessary to cover the mouth and nose with a mask in closed spaces, with the exception of buildings in which medical activity is carried out and pharmacies. In addition, there is no longer an obligation to be referred for isolation and quarantine due to COVID-19 disease, and Covid wards and temporary hospitals for COVID-19 patients have been closed down.

Since the beginning of April, the rules for prescribing PCR tests have changed – a PCR test can be ordered by a doctor, for example before admission to hospital, if he or she deems it necessary. It is, however, no longer possible to get a free COVID-19 test at, for example, pharmacies and mobile swabbing stations, and it is no longer possible to sign up for a test yourself via online form or via a helpline consultant.

But, the abolishment of the state of epidemic will not actually change much. The provisions of the Covid Law will still remain in force. Most of the regulations amended in connection with the COVID-19 epidemic, are conditional on the existence of either a state of epidemic emergency or a state of epidemic.  Consequently, the introduction of a state of epidemic emergency means that these provisions still remain in force. Only the abolition of both the state of epidemic and the state of epidemic emergency would bring more significant changes.

The Minister’s decision was based on the recent improvement of the epidemic situation in Poland. However, the Minister has not ruled out the possibility that legal changes associated with the increase of coronavirus infections may occur again in the future. Therefore, the situation is being monitored and it is necessary to remain on alert, as there may be another increase in SARS-COV-2 infections in the autumn. In view of this, it is possible that the state of epidemic emergency will be transformed back into a state of epidemic.



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