Poland to announce more coronavirus curbs as cases hit new record

·2-min read

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland will announce new restrictions on Thursday after coronavirus infections doubled in less than three weeks, possibly including moving some primary school students to distance learning.

On Wednesday, it 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.

"Let's set aside this weird team of deniers and those who want a total lockdown of the economy. Let's take the middle way, it's the safest," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the assembly.

He 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 spokesman Piotr Muller said further measures would be announced on Thursday.

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 and said the bill needed amendments.

"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)

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