Poland has said it would suspend work at 12 mines for three weeks after a record spike in new confirmed coronavirus cases in recent days at hotspots in the country's southern Silesian coal basin.
The majority of new infections in Poland, which depends on coal for 80% of its power, are employees of a dozen coal mines and their family members, according to the health ministry.
"Starting tomorrow, we will suspend work in two mines at the JSW mining group and in 10 mines of the PGG mining conglomerate... for three weeks," deputy prime minister Jacek Sasin said Monday, referring to two state-run coal companies, ranked the largest in the European Union.
The JSW mining group is the largest producer of coking coal used in steel production in the bloc, while the PGG conglomerate is its largest producer of hard coal.
Both companies operate largely in the southern Silesia region, Poland's current virus epicentre.
The closures are not expected to affect energy production in Poland, which has ample stockpiles of domestic and imported coal.
The country of 38 million people has so far reported 26,780 cases of Covid-19, including 1,157 deaths and 12,998 recoveries.
Poland introduced anti-virus lockdown measures relatively early in March, which could account for its lower death toll from the disease than those of some western European countries.
However, some experts warn the tally of infections could be skewed downward because of limited testing of the general population.
The government began easing restrictions late last month, upping the public gathering limit to 150 people and scrapping the face mask requirement for those abiding by social distancing rules.
Since Saturday, various public spaces including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, gyms and pools have been allowed to reopen.
Campaigning ahead of the rescheduled 28 June presidential election is also in full swing, with noticeably few practising social distancing at the events.
The ballot was originally scheduled for 10 May but was postponed at the last minute because of the pandemic.