Poland's total coronavirus cases top 300,000 after new daily record

FILE PHOTO: A health worker in protective suit gives a document to man, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at a test center in front of a hospital in Warsaw, Poland October 27, 2020. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland reported another daily record of coronavirus infections and deaths on Thursday with new 20,156 cases and 301 deaths related to COVID-19.

The health ministry said the total number of confirmed coronavirus infections has tripled in less than a month, exceeding 300,000.

Government officials have warned infections could rise fast due to massive protests sweeping Poland following a Constitutional Court ruling last Thursday that has introduced a near total ban on abortions.

Tens of thousands have gathered in towns and cities for several days, blaming the nationalist government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki for the verdict.

No major protests are planned on Thursday but a mass gathering is scheduled in Warsaw on Friday.

Poland has closed restaurants and bars, banned gatherings of more than five people, and introduced online teaching for most students to slow the spread of the virus, but it has so far resisted a full lockdown and said it would take time for the new curbs to bring results.

The ministry also said that as of Thursday, COVID-19 patients occupied 14,631 hospital beds and were using 1,203 ventilators, compared with 13,931 and 1,150 respectively a day earlier.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Pawel Florkiewicz; Editing by Tomasz Janowski