Poland to announce new restrictions to curb COVID-19 on Wednesday

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective coverall work at the drive-thru testing centre on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Warsaw, Poland, October 2, 2020. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland will announce more restrictions on Wednesday to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the prime minister’s chief of staff Michal Dworczyk said.

Poland has faced a spike in infections, with the latest record in daily cases - 21,897 - reported on Saturday. The country is running out of hospital beds, ventilators, oxygen and medics.

“The situation is serious and today the prime minister will announce further restrictions, decisions that would limit our functioning, the number of social contacts,” Dworczyk told a catholic radio Siodma9.

He reiterated that the government wants to avoid a total lockdown.

Poland has already closed bars and restaurants, limited operations of swimming pools, and asked the elderly to stay at home.

The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has warned that the massive protests the country has faced against a near total abortion ban will result in more COVID-19 infections.

Some immunologists however said that the protesters have been wearing faces masks, kept distance and marched in open air which reduces the risk of infection. The protests organisers said the government should not shift the blame for failing to cope with the pandemic.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Pawel Florkiewicz, editing by Louise Heavens