UPDATE 1-Poland reports over 3,000 COVID-19 cases for first time

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WARSAW, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Poland on Wednesday reported a daily record of 3,003 new coronavirus cases and a record 75 deaths, as it imposes new restrictions to try to dodge a full lockdown.

Poland’s surge in infections is accompanied by a regional spike in cases, with the Czech Republic reporting 4,457 new cases on Wednesday in the fastest rise in Europe recorded so far.

The region initially managed to record fewer cases than Western Europe during the first wave of the pandemic, but has struggled to keep cases down in recent weeks as it seeks to avoid lockdowns and the associated economic fallout.

“We are today in the phase where the number of cases is growing dramatically,” the health ministry’s spokesman Wojciech Andrusiewicz told reporters on Wednesday.

Poland earlier this week announced it would more strictly impose existing curbs such as wearing masks. The health minister also said there would be a ban on using some venues for dancing and new distancing rules to prevent mass gatherings.

Andrusiewicz added the capital Warsaw would soon face stricter curbs such as the need to wear a mask outside at all times.

Poland now has a total of 107,319 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,792 deaths, according to health ministry data. In the last day, more than 44,000 coronavirus tests were carried out.

“If it keeps going at this pace, if large social groups won’t start listening to our calls regarding distance and wearing masks, then we will bring negative scenarios upon ourselves,” Andrusiewicz said. (Reporting by Alan Charlish and Alicja Ptak, Writing by Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Alison Williams, William Maclean)