More than a thousand military students have been infected with Coronavirus in Poland. The spread of the disease was rapid among young soldiers, who had to participate in the annual inauguration of the academic year. The accusation lay heavily on the Ministry of Defence, with the acting minister testing positive for COVID-19. The spokesmen of the Land Forces Academy and the Technical Military Academy did not respond to the questions from the media, however, the students claim that they are in isolation with many cases present among them.
Media reports claim that hundreds of students from the Land Forces Academy have been moved in secret to remote sanatoriums in order to isolate them from the university personnel and the public view. The same situation is present at the Technical Military Academy, where 450 students have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
But the situation is shocking for a completely different reason than the numbers themselves. The Ministry of Defense have in fact decided not to publish the cases of infections in the daily report of the Ministry of Health. Besides that, the huge increase in infections among the students and the academy’s personnel occurred just briefly after the academic year inauguration, which the students were forced to attend. The reason was the presence of the Minister of Defense, Mariusz Blaszczak, who personally spoke to students. Blaszczak was tested positive for COVID-19 after a brief quarantine period due to a contact with an army officer who tested positive too.
According to some anonymous sources, the spread of the virus at the Land Forces Academy is so extensive that there are no courses taking place. With the students locked in rooms and denied the possibility to go back home, they have to wait for the development of the situation.
In its official statement, the Ministry of Defense denied that Mariusz Blaszczak was the source of the infections at military academies. However, the tweeted statement has subsequently been removed from the Ministry of Defense account. The text, however, remained on one of the pro-governmental news pages.
With another wave of infections, the situation in Poland looks rather catastrophic. In the period from 27th to 30th October, 60,000 infections were reported, with more than 500 dead. The National Stadium in Warsaw is currently being transformed into a field hospital. The situation of the military academies is not surprising, however, the role of the Ministry of Defense denying them is concerning. The real scale of the issue is not yet known, but it could have significant consequences for the health and readiness of the army, with many active officers sick.