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World News

Poland's total number of coronavirus cases exceeds 100,000

A student of the Medical University in Gdansk, wears a protective face mask during the opening of the first in Poland cost free mobile walk-thru test center for collecting swab samples for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the University of Gdansk, in Gdansk, Poland. May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Jadwiga Figula/Files

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s total number of coronavirus cases passed the 100,000 mark on Sunday, according to the health ministry’s Twitter account, as infection rates surge in the country which has reported daily records three times in the past week.

While Poland’s total number of cases remains well below that in many western European virus hotspots, reaching 100,000 illustrates how the spread of COVID-19 has accelerated in a country which avoided the worst of the first wave and where in July the prime minister played down risks ahead of an election.

The country of 38 million has now reported a total of 100,074 cases of the coronavirus and 2,630 deaths. On Sunday it reported 1,934 new daily cases and 26 deaths, after performing over 25,900 tests.

Poland quickly introduced strict lockdown measures during the early stages of the pandemic, but the ruling nationalist party Law and Justice (PiS) have said they want to avoid another economically damaging lockdown by introducing targeted measures in the worst affected places.

While the county’s industrial south had previously been the hardest hit region, with large outbreaks among coal miners, central and northern Poland have seen spiralling infection rates in recent weeks.

The Baltic seaside resort of Sopot has been added to the list of worst affected zones with the toughest restrictions. The capital Warsaw, in central Poland, is at risk of being added to one of the lists of zones with increased curbs on public life, the health ministry has said.

The largest country in the European Union’s eastern wing has announced new measures for the worst affected zones, including a requirement for bars and restaurants to shut by 10 p.m.

On Thursday, Poland was added to quarantine lists in England and Scotland.

Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Editing by Toby Chopra

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