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Poland mulls restrictions amid record daily rises in COVID-19 cases

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Poland is considering reimposing some restrictions as it expects high daily numbers in new coronavirus cases to continue, the health ministry said on Friday.

Poland reported a record daily rise in coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day on Friday, with the biggest spike in the central region of the country.

It reported 1,587 new COVID-19 infections, the biggest daily number since the start of the pandemic in March. In total the nation of 38 million people has registered 84,396 infections, including 2,392 deaths.

The biggest rise was reported in central Poland with 295 new infections.

“This is the result of our return to normality…We do not rule out that these numbers will continue to rise,” the health ministry spokesman said.

In July, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki downplayed infection risks, saying Poles, including elderly citizens, should not be afraid to vote in a presidential election because the coronavirus had become a disease “like any other”.

His nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party candidate Andrzej Duda narrowly won the election, in large part thanks to rural and elderly voters.

Poland was at first successful in containing the outbreak, but cases began resurging in the summer as more people travelled for holidays and attended weddings.

Many Poles have begun to disregard recommendations to wear face masks since the removal in May of most restrictions on movement imposed in March and April to limit COVID-19 spread. Schools and kindergartens resumed on Sept. 1.

The spokesman said that next week the ministry will announce new coronavirus forecasts and possible restrictions. He declined to provide details. The ministry said it does not expect problems with the availability of hospital beds.

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