New restrictions likely as coronavirus cases spike up to over 8,000
Poland's daily coronavirus cases soared over 8,000 for the first time on Thursday, hitting a record high for the second straight day, with the country likely to introduce new restrictions to try to curb the pandemic.
While health authorities say there are enough hospital beds and respirators for now to tackle the infection, doctors warn that the system may become overloaded.
"We are still at a moment when we must expect that the number of infections will rise for some time and that this increase will be significant," Michał Dworczyk, the prime minister's chief of staff, told private broadcaster TVN24.
On Thursday the number of infections rose over 24% compared to the previous day, to 8,099 new cases, according to the health ministry. The country of 38 million has now recorded 149,903 confirmed coronavirus cases and 3,308 deaths.
Government spokesman Piotr Muller told public radio station PR1 Poland would probably introduce new restrictions on Thursday to slow the spread of the virus.
"These are different restrictions concerning limits in specific places in the country," he said. "They will not go as far as in spring. Limits on numbers of people come into play..."
Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska told public radio station PR24 that most large Polish cities would become "red" zones, areas with the highest level of coronavirus restrictions, on Thursday.
The lower house of parliament will likely hold an extra meeting on Friday to discuss a new healthcare bill that may make it compulsory for doctors to treat COVID patients when ordered to do so by authorities.
"We cannot afford having so many doctors avoid supporting health care in the fight against the pandemic," the lower house of parliament deputy speaker Ryszard Terlecki was quoted by news agency PAP as saying.
However, doctors have accused the cabinet of not preparing the health system for the second wave and say that instead of more testing, closing schools and supporting doctors, the government is blaming physicians for the situation.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters, PAP
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Leszek Szymański/PAP