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Poland expects high daily numbers of COVID-19 to continue


WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland reported a record number of new daily coronavirus infections on Thursday with 1,967 new cases, while the Health Minister said he expected daily new coronavirus cases could continue peaking above 2,000 during the following week.

Over the past week, Poland has seen more than 1,000 new cases each day. The authorities announced a previous record of 1,587 new infections on Friday.

"We have to expect an escalation of the pandemic. Our forecasts show that in the nearest future, I'm talking about the next two weeks, this figure will continue to be in the range of over 1,500, even 2,000 a day," Poland's Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told a news conference.

New restrictions were announced in the worst-affected areas on Tuesday, with the government saying restaurants and bars would have to close by 10 p.m.

The government also updated on Thursday its list of red and yellow zones - areas that have more cases and therefore tougher restrictions - which will come into effect on Saturday. The zones include the northern cities of Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia, as well as the city of Szczecin.

Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska said that if the situation worsens, further restrictions could be introduced.

"I don't have good news, the situation is becoming very serious," he told reporters.

Since the start of the pandemic, Poland has recorded a total of 93,481 coronavirus infections and 2,543 deaths.

Poland was at first successful in containing the outbreak, but lifted most restrictions in May and cases began rising in the summer as people travelled for vacations and attended large events like weddings.

Schools and kindergartens reopened on Sept. 1.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish, Anna Koper, Agnieszka Barteczko and Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Bernadette Baum)

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