Poland’s government imposed lockdown amid coronavirus, has pushed thousands of Ukrainians to get their suitcases and head to the Poland-Ukraine border, to return in their homeland, before the decision to close the borders takes effect.
Nearly 3,500 citizens were queued at the Korczowa crossing in Poland, 74 km west of Lviv, Ukraine, to cross the border and enter to their home country, VisaGuide.World reports.
“We are observing an exodus of Ukrainian citizens in recent days with 3,500 to 5,000 people leaving Poland via the Korczowa crossing a day,” Major Elzbieta Pikor, a regional spokeswoman for the Polish border guard pointed out.
It is estimated that about 2 million Ukrainians live or work in Poland. Many of them work in the construction and farming industries under temporary visas. After their visas expire, they return to their homes.
Even though Ukrainian nationals, lined up in Poland borders have been wearing face masks and taking other precautionary measures, the influx of people doesn’t meet the Sanitary Epidemiological Service recommendations, according to Wojciech Bakun, the mayor of Przemysl.
But, regarding that Serhyi Tymchuk, a 32-year-old electrician waiting to cross the border, if people had followed the distance rule and stood 1.5 meters away from each other, the line would have reached Krakow.
Last week, Poland decided to close all its borders to non-EU travellers in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly virus. It also announced that starting from Friday, the borders with Ukraine remain closed, as well.
Authorities in Ukraine clarified that citizens coming back from Poland, who manage to cross the border would be allowed to enter into Ukraine, even after Friday.
Poland has shuttered schools, cinemas and theatres, and limited public gatherings. The government has also decided to close its borders until mid-April.