WARSAW, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The Polish government has put the country under a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Friday evening, ceasing all cross-border road, air and rail passenger traffic as of Sunday.
The measures apply for at least 10 days, with a possible extension of another 20 days, Morawiecki said.
Non-Polish nationals will be barred from entering the country outright after Saturday. Polish nationals are allowed to enter by road and chartered flights, on the condition of a 14-day home quarantine immediately after return. Domestic traffic is to stay uninterrupted.
By the time of the press conference on Friday evening, Poland had 68 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and one death.
"Unfortunately, we are expecting an increase in the number of people infected by the coronavirus," Morawiecki said. "We have to use our medical resources to the maximum effect, and therefore we want to stymie the flow of new people from abroad."
"We are closing the doors to the pandemic," Morawiecki added that cross-border transport of goods will continue as normal.
The Polish government has also closed malls, restaurants, clubs, bars and casinos and banned all gatherings of over 50 people.
Shops, including those operated in malls, pharmacies, laundries and banks are to operate normally, while restaurants are allowed to cater to takeaway orders.
Morawiecki appealed to employers to allow their staff to work from home wherever possible, and that children and youth should stay at home and should not be sent to stay with their grandparents, so as to protect elderly people.