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World News

Polish PM to recommend tightest virus rules for whole country

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s prime minister on Wednesday said he will recommend imposing the highest level of highest level of coronavirus restrictions nationwide, after the country reported a new record of over 10,000 daily cases.

FILE PHOTO: Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives for the second face-to-face European Union summit since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brussels, Belgium October 1, 2020. Aris Oikonomou/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Poland had been adopting a policy of introducing targeted measures for the worst affected areas, and the proposal to put the whole country in the so-called “red zone” of top level restrictions is a sign of how serious the situation has become.

Coronavirus infections in Poland have doubled in less than three weeks.

“I will recommend that we take a decision to put all of Poland in the red zone from Saturday,” Mateusz Morawiecki told private broadcaster Polsat News, saying that at the moment about 88% of the population was under the highest restrictions.

New restrictions are due to be announced on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Poland reported a daily record of 10,040 new cases, taking its overall total past 200,000. The lower house of parliament held an emergency session to discuss a bill to help an overwhelmed health system.

In parliament, Morawiecki promised to help support the healthcare system and floated the possibility of distance learning for some primary school students.

Secondary and high schools have been moved to distance learning, while the government has limited restaurant opening hours in the parts of the country hardest hit by the pandemic and closed all swimming pools and gyms.

Government COVID-19 adviser Andrzej Horban told private radio RMF24 that 10,000 new cases a day was the most the health system could cope with. As of Wednesday, COVID-19 patients occupied 9,439 hospital beds, up 5% in a day.

The opposition has criticised the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party’s response to the crisis.

“We have found some obvious errors, including one that allows young female doctors to be called in to work in infectious wards the day after giving birth,” said Cezary Tomczyk, parliamentary leader of the biggest opposition party, Civic Coalition.

Poland has recorded a total of 3,851 COVID-19 deaths, 130 were reported on Wednesday.

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska, Alan Charlish, Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk, Agnieszka Barteczko, Pawel Florkiewicz and Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Janet Lawrence and Tom Brown

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