On May 16th, 2022 Poland lifted the “state of pandemic” and announced “the state of pandemic threat.”
Already, as of March 28th, 2022 most of the formerly imposed restrictions have been finally lifted. This concerns the obligation of patient isolation, quarantine for housemates, COVID tests and quarantine upon arrival in Poland. Also it is no longer obligatory to wear face masks except for during visit at medical facilities.
Where to look for information about the functioning of universities and scientific institutions during the epidemic?
The page ‘Coronavirus – information and recommendations’ (Polish language) is a collection of information for universities and research institutes about the recommendations and measures of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. You can find here, among others, recommendations with regard to the organisation of the academic year, lab classes and professional traineeships or the functioning of student dorms.
Another important source of information is the homepage of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland, where you can find, among other things, ‘CRASP’s Recommendations for University Authorities.’ (Polish language)
What are the basic safety rules and where to find relevant information?
Washing and disinfecting hands, wearing face coverings in designated areas, and keeping a distance – those are the basic principles that we have to follow in order to limit the transmission of the virus.
You should look for information about new recommendations and restrictions resulting from the state of epidemic from proven, reliable sources. Among them are the websites of the Ministry of Health and the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate. These two institutions provide information related to COVID-19 on an ongoing basis.
Furthermore, important news concerning the current recommendations and restrictions are provided on the government website www.gov.pl. This is where you can find e.g. the list of infections, the list of isolation hospitals and the list of districts that have been assigned to areas with new safety rules, the so called yellow or red zone. HERE
Where to go in the case of symptoms of COVID-19 infection?
Body temperature above 38 degrees Celsius, cough, difficulty breathing and loss of the sense of smell or taste are the four most common symptoms characteristic for COVID-19. According to the new recommendations of the Ministry of Health, a patient with such symptoms should have a phone consultation with their GP, who will refer them to a test via the gabinet.gov.pl application. The GP informs the patient of mobile test sites, so called drive-through test centres, where they can have a test (the GP informs the patient of the need to avoid public transport).
Then, the GP notifies the District Sanitary and Epidemiological Station of a suspected SARS-COV-2 infection by filling out a relevant form in their medical practice software or in the gabinet.gov.pl application.
If the condition of the patient allows it, they travel to the drive through site by car on their own in order to have a test. The list of drive through centres is available HERE .(Polish language)
When going to a drive through testing site, the patient has to present an identity document with a photograph and to provide their Civil Registration Number PESEL. Once in the centre, they do not leave the car. The epipharynx smear is collected through an open car window. The test is free of charge.
The smear is analysed in a COVID lab. The test results are entered into the system. They can be accessed by the GP through the gabinet.gov.pl app, by the patient through the Online Patient Account and by the Regional and District Sanitary and Epidemiological Stations through the EWP system.
If the patient tests positive, they will be notified by the GP and informed of the need to go to an isolation or low dependency and isolation hospital ward. In addition, the GP notifies a hospital with an isolation ward of the referral of a patient with confirmed COVID-19.
At the hospital, it is decided whether to:
- admit the patient to the hospital,
- isolate the patient in an isolation unit (isolation units are dedicated among others to patients who cannot be quarantined at home, because they would threat to infect their family),
- or isolate the patient at their home.
If the patient is unable to go to a testing site on their own, their GP will contact the Regional Sanitary and Epidemiological Station (WSSE) by phone and inform it of the need to perform a test. The WSSE issues a request for a test and sends to the patient an ambulance dedicated to doing smear tests. If the patient tests positive, they will be notified by the GP and informed of the need to go to an isolation or low dependency and isolation hospital ward. At the hospital, it is decided whether to:
- admit the patient to the hospital,
- isolate the patient in an isolation unit,
- or isolate the patient at their home.
The procedures in the event of a suspected COVID-19 infection are described on the website of the Ministry of Health HERE.(Polish language)
We encourage you to follow information on the websites of NAWA, the Polish Ministry of Health and the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate.
Poland’s National Vaccination Programme For the Foreigners
All foreigners who have not been assigned a PESEL number but hold a residence permit issued for working, studying or staying with their family in Poland may take advantage of Poland’s National Vaccination Programme. See how to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Vaccination e-referrals for foreigners
Irrespective of whether you are:
- a school or university student studying in Poland,
- a foreign doctoral student,
- a foreigner holding a work permit,
- a diplomat,
- a spouse or child of any person meeting the above criteria, who also holds a residence permit allowing you to legally stay in Poland,
you should report to your primary health care physician.
How should doctors issue referrals to foreigners?
Primary health care physicians are authorised and ought to issue vaccination referrals using the gabinet.gov.pl application. When issuing a referral, the doctor should select the “Other identifier” option in the “Patient data” field (other than the “PESEL number” option) and input the number of the document used by the given foreigner to prove his or her identity. Preferably, such a document should be a passport or a foreign national ID card.
Note: Do not forget to bring the same document that your doctor had used to prepare your referral when visiting the designated facility to receive your vaccination. Remember to use the exact same ID document that had been used to prepare your e-referral at each stage of the vaccination process.
Once your e-referral has been issued and is available in the online system, you can register for vaccination in two ways:
- Call the designated helpline – 989 – you can do it yourself or have a family member do it for you Providing a mobile phone number is not required but will enable you to receive an SMS confirmation of your vaccination appointment. During the registration, you can choose the exact time and place of vaccination. If you have provided a mobile phone number, you will then receive an SMS confirming your vaccination appointment.
IMPORTANT – you must provide the document number included in the e-referrals
2. Contact your preferred vaccination centre directly. See vaccination centre map.
COVID-19 vaccinations for all foreigners staying in Poland legally are free of charge.
How to prepare for vaccination*?
- Get proper sleep before vaccination – sleep positively affects the immune system.
- Limit your alcohol intake – limit your alcohol intake several days before and after vaccination; preferably, avoid alcohol altogether.
- Exercise before vaccination – physical activity helps improve your body’s condition.
- Fasting is not required – you may eat normally on your vaccination day.
- Never stop taking your prescribed medication on your own – always consult your doctor first.
- Fill out the pre-vaccination questionnaire diligently – you will be asked to fill out a medical questionnaire before receiving the vaccine. Under no circumstances should you conceal any information!
- Remain at the vaccination centre for at least 15 minutes – this is to ensure your safety.
- Do not be concerned about VAEs – VAE stands for vaccine adverse events. They are rare and typically benign if they do occur. You may experience e.g. redness in the injection area or a minor fever after vaccination. All such symptoms should subside within 1-3 days. Should you experience significant discomfort, you may also take antipyretics after vaccination.
More information: https://www.gov.pl/web/szczepimysie/information-for-foreigners