Polish COVID-19 cases surge as more regional restrictions in view

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective masks amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk in the centre of Warsaw, Poland February 24, 2021. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland reported 21,045 daily coronavirus cases on Thursday, health ministry data showed, the highest tally since November, as the country faces a surge in infections driven by a highly contagious variant of the virus first identified in Britain.

Poland has reintroduced stricter measures in the worst hit regions of the country, and harsher restrictions could be announced shortly in other areas of the country, including the Mazowsze region where the capital Warsaw is located.

“We have exceeded the level of 21,000 infections, which shows that… the third wave is rising,” health ministry spokesman Wojciech Andrusiewicz told state-run news agency PAP.

Poland’s zloty currency reversed its earlier gains to trade 0.1% lower on the day at 1135 GMT after the news.

In total, the country has reported 1,849,424 cases of the coronavirus and 46,373 deaths.

Poland eased some restrictions last month, reopening ski slopes as well as cinemas, hotels and theatres for up to 50% capacity, which initially resulted in massive tourist visits to popular ski resorts.

The government then resumed curbs in the northern and northeastern regions, as they reported a higher infection rate per 100,000 people than other parts of the country.

“What will this end with? No one knows. Forecasting when society is averse to restrictions is very difficult,” PAP quoted Wlodzimierz Gut, a virologist, as saying.

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