The start of the process of reopening Poland’s borders, which have been locked down since mid-March, should be made “within a matter of days, maybe weeks”, says the country’s foreign minister, Jacek Czaputowicz.
Speaking today at a summit of foreign ministers with the Baltic states in Estonia, Czaputowicz said that everything was “on track” for travel to resume “before the holidays”, reports Interia. He added that experts will have to assess the risks of travelling to neighbouring countries in the near future.
As various countries reopen to travellers, many have included residents of Poland on their white lists of permitted visitors. But some, such as Montenegro today, have excluded Poland. The Polish health ministry is likely to issue its own travel recommendations in mid-June.
Domestic flights within Poland resumed this week between eight cities. However, international rail and air connections are still suspended, while non-resident foreigners are banned from entry. Those who are permitted to enter – both Polish citizens and others – must undertake two weeks of quarantine.
Czaputowicz noted that Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have recorded some of the lowest death rates during the pandemic. “Our strategies were good and we are now in a better position than other European countries,” said the foreign minister.
“We are recognised as epidemically safe countries, and it is a matter of days, maybe weeks, until we open our countries more,” added Czaputowicz.
Poland introduced some of the the earliest and toughest lockdown measures in Europe, which has kept its rate of infections relatively low. The number of overall deaths recorded this year is in fact lower than in recent times. However, unlike the rest of the EU, Poland has not reached its peak of infections.
Last week, Greece published a list of 29 countries whose tourists would be allowed to enter for its summer season, starting on 15 June. This initially did not include Poland, but that decision has since been amended.
On Monday, the Czech Republic also included Poland on its list of countries deemed “safe”, whose citizens will be able to cross its borders without coronavirus testing or quarantine from 15 June, reports Polska Times.
People from Poland may likewise currently enter Bulgaria, Croatia, Portugal, Slovenia, Italy (from 3 June) without mandatory quarantine, according to a compilation of reports from TVN24.
However, not all countries plan on letting Poles in for now. On Tuesday, Montenegro excluded Poland from its list of 131 countries whose citizens would be allowed to enter freely. The decision was said to be based on whether a country has below 25 active coronavirus cases per 100,000 citizens.
At today’s summit in Estonia, other topics discussed included cybersecurity, regional cooperation, the EU budget and relief fund, as well as the Three Seas Initiative – a forum for the twelve EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe.
The ministers also discussed issues concerning Russia’s recent revisionist statements regarding World War Two history.