Do Regulations Matter in Fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic? Lessons from Poland

Lukasz Adam Gruszczynski, Mateusz Zatonski, Martin McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)


In this article, we argue that the design and timing of regulatory responses, as well as the adherence of the population to the relevant rules, have a critical impact on the progression and public health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This hypothesis is empirically tested using the example of Poland, a country that experienced, compared to its Western European neighbours, a relatively mild first phase of the pandemic. In this context, we compare Poland with selected countries, including France, Germany, Spain and the UK, and we supplement them with examples from other Visegrad Four (V4) countries – Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary. On that basis, we conclude that while the observed differences between the countries in the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic are the result of a multitude of complex and interrelated reasons (such as demographic structure, population density and connectivity or cultural factors), well-designed public health measures, which are implemented early as a part of the proactive strategy that anticipates and reacts quickly to changing circumstances, can effectively decrease the number of COVID-19 infections and related deaths, provided that the adherence of the relevant population is high.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-757
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Risk Regulation
Issue number4
Early online date26 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


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