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Polish officials warn of rising infection, new curbs

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Poland must expect a significant rise in coronavirus infections and new measures are likely to be introduced to stop the spread of the virus, government officials said on Thursday.

The largest country in the European Union’s eastern wing faces spiraling infection rates, and health authorities say it has enough hospital beds and respirators for now to tackle the pandemic but cannot rule out localised shortages.

“We are still at a moment when we must expect that the number of infections will rise for some time and that this increase will be significant,” Michal Dworczyk, the prime minister’s chief of staff, told private broadcaster TVN 24.

On Thursday the number of infections rose over 24% compared to the previous day, to 8,099 new cases, according to the health ministry. The country of 38 million has now recorded 149,903 confirmed coronavirus cases and 3,308 deaths.

Government spokesman Piotr Muller told public radio station PR1 Poland would probably introduce new restrictions on Thursday to slow the spread of the virus.

“These are different restrictions concerning limits in specific places in the country,” he said. “They will not go as far as in spring. Limits on numbers of people come into play…”

Poland’s government has repeatedly said it wants to avoid another economically damaging national lockdown.

Muller said that if the same level of growth in infection rates seen on Wednesday was repeated on Thursday, the government would decide on further preventative measures.

Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska told public radio station PR24 that most large Polish cities would become “red” zones, areas with the highest level of coronavirus restrictions, on Thursday.

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