WARSAW, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The Polish government announced Wednesday the closure for two weeks of all educational institutions, schools, theatres, cinemas and other cultural institutions in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The measures will take effect on Monday and last to March 25.
"The coronavirus and the epidemic can clearly become very dangerous," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said during a press conference. "To control the situation and to limit its effects, as we are certain that the virus will spread, we need to take determined action."
Classes are suspended immediately, but schools will stay open until Friday to accommodate pupils whose parents have not been able to make arrangements on such short notice. Parents that need to stay home from Monday on can apply for government aid.
Poland had 31 confirmed cases of the coronavirus until Wednesday evening, a low number compared to other European Union countries. However, the country has also conducted relatively few tests in total. News channel TVN24 reported that there have been a little over 2,000 tests conducted so far in the country of 38 million.
Despite government appeals to remain calm and efforts to dispel rumours that shops will eventually be closed as well, social media started to flood in the afternoon with photos of people hoarding food and basic hygiene products, with shortages of products like toilet paper, pasta and flour being reported all over the country.