After a meeting which included Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and other members of the crisis management team, the Polish government announced a series of restrictions yesterday aimed at further reducing the spread of coronavirus in Poland.
As of today, residents will not be allowed to gather in groups of more than two, with the exception of families, and religious gatherings are limited to five people.
The new restrictions also include a ban on leaving the house except for activities necessary for daily living, including caring for relatives, walking the dog, or heading to work, the grocery store, or the pharmacy. Volunteers helping seniors are also exempt, and exercising outdoors, while not encouraged, is also allowed within reason.
Additionally, access to public transportation will be limited to 50% of seated capacity, with every other seat on buses or trams required to be vacant. Those who violate the new restrictions could face a fine of up to PLN 5,000.
Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski appealed directly to residents to abide by the restrictions and remain at home, adding that otherwise “we will not be able to save human lives.” Since Poland’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 4, 12 people have died from the disease, with 915 confirmed infections as of 9:30 this morning.
2020 Olympics officially postponed to 2021
In response to growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially announced yesterday that the 2020 Olympic games would be postponed until 2021.
This year’s summer Olympics were due to begin in Tokyo on July 24th. A growing number of countries, including Poland, issued calls this week for the games to be postponed, with Australia and Canada taking the drastic step of announcing they would not be sending their delegations due to health concerns. The last games to be canceled were in 1940 and 1944, due to the outbreak and continuation of WWII.
According to Reuters, IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that the event would be postponed until next summer “at the latest” with Bach declaring that the Olympic flame would serve as “a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Tributes to Poles who rescued Jews during WWII
Across Poland, government and civic institutions paid tribute yesterday to Poles who helped save their Jewish neighbors during World War II.
According to the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), March 24 was chosen as the date of commemoration in tribute to the sacrifices of the Ulma family. Józef and Wiktoria Ulma, along with their six children and the Jewish family they were hiding, were shot to death by German military police on March 24, 1944, in the village of Markowa near Łancut in the region of Podkarpackie.
The Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem posthumously honored the Ulmas with the title of Righteous Among the Nations in 1995, and a museum in their name was opened in the Markowa in 2016.
This year’s events were predominantly held online due to the coronavirus pandemic, with many institutions posting their tributes via social media, Some, like IPN, used the occasion to remind everyone of the importance of caring for the weakest among us during times of uncertainty.
You can read more about the Ulma family and other Polish heroes on the website of the POLIN museum: https://sprawiedliwi.org.pl/en
Gdynia schoolkids win top hackathon prize
Students and teachers from III LO in Gdynia took top honors in the recent Hackcrisis Hackathon sponsored by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
The team took first place in the Education category with their innovative “3 Class” virtual tutoring platform, which virtually connects students from primary schools with high school tutors.
The project was launched on Saturday and is already reportedly up and running in Poland, Greece, France, and Italy. Check out their virtual tutoring platform at http://3-lab.pl/3class/ or see some of the other winning projects at http://hackcrisis.com
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Today will be bright and sunny with clear skies and a light breeze expected throughout the day. Temps will reach up to 7°C (44°F) in the afternoon, falling just below freezing overnight with some light frost expected tomorrow morning.