Poland's tally of COVID-19 infections crosses 3 mln

A general view of Castle Square in the Old Town, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Warsaw, Poland December 28, 2020. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

WARSAW, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Poland's total number of COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic passed 3 million on Friday, health ministry data showed, with daily cases hitting their highest in the fourth wave as a spike in infections gathers pace.

Amid wide disregard for rules on wearing masks, infections in Poland are surging ahead of All Saints' Day, when crowds of people visit cemetries to pay their respects to the dead in a tradition that could contribute to the spread of the virus.

Friday's 9,387 new cases were Poland's highest since April, with 102 deaths. In total, the country of about 38 million people has reported 3,008,294 cases and 76,875 COVID-19 related deaths.

The government will have to consider tighter curbs if average daily cases exceed 7,000 at the end of the month, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski was quoted as saying on Monday.

In 2020, cemeteries were closed just before All Saints' Day.

Asked about a possible tightening of curbs, a health ministry spokesman said Poles should focus on respecting the current rules by wearing masks in enclosed public spaces, and added that police had stepped up checks.

In addition to more people flouting the rules, the pace of vaccination has also slowed in recent months, with 19.9 million people fully vaccinated by Friday.

Poland has recommended booster shots for all adults. A poll published on Thursday showed that 63% of Poles would get a booster shot if they had the chance.

Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Koper; Editing by John Stonestreet and Clarence Fernandez

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