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COVID Pass Requirement Neglected as More Ukrainian Refugees Reach Poland

With thousands of refugees arriving in Poland every day, the requirement to wear a mask to protect public health from contracting COVID-19 has been neglected by Poland’s border guards. More specifically, since the start of the Russian invasion, Ukrainian arrivals have been allowed to enter Poland without a vaccine or negative certificates.

Such a situation is alarming for the World Organization (WHO), which is concerned that the war in Ukraine could affect public health in the country, including the spread of COVID-19, reports.

However, the head of the urban search and rescue mission, Jean-Claude Cordot, said the virus was of little importance in this crisis.

“It is clear that COVID at this border crossing here in Medica is not a priority. It is not a priority for us and it is not a priority for refugees arriving. We are mainly dealing with young children with hypothermia, treating urgent cases so they can continue their journey.”

Virus fears have receded on a priority scale in Poland as about 60 pediatric cancer patients from Ukraine arrived on a medical train in Medica, bound for hospitals in Warsaw, where medical workers are carrying some children in their arms, stretchers or wheelchairs. Moreover, Dominic Daszota, an anesthesiologist from Warsaw Hospital, revealed that the train has transported 120 children with cancer so far.

>> How the war in Ukraine affects the migration situation in the European Union

However, fears of COVID-19 are valid as only 35 percent of Ukraine’s 44 million people are vaccinated.

“In my opinion, coronavirus is a real disease, but after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, COVID has disappeared because the war has become global and a worse problem for humanity,” said Julia Vlasik, a Ukrainian refugee.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2.5 million people have fled the country. Hungary has also accepted about 235,000 refugees, while 1.5 million arrivals have crossed the border into Poland.

However, as more refugees arrive in the country, concerns about human traffickers and other forms of abuse are also growing as Ukrainian citizens have to stay with strangers.

The risks of these things happening are very high. Many women are trafficked every year – [and] Children as it is a danger not only to women but also to children. As you can see here, a lot of Romanians have been mobilized, and I am very proud, but the risks for others to take advantage of the pain of these families is very high,” said Andrea Bogor, Director of Communications Advocacy at World Vision Romania.

Women arriving in Hungary are advised to protect themselves at the border, keep their phones charged and check the license plates of the cars they are traveling in.

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