Poles will have to wear face masks in all public spaces from Saturday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday, after coronavirus cases hit a new record daily high of 4,280.
"The second wave has reached us and we have to face it in a decisive way," Morawiecki told reporters, explaining that the entire EU country of 38 million would now be considered a "yellow zone".
"We have 30 percent more infections than yesterday. If the current dynamic continues, it means that the number of infections risks doubling every three days," Morawiecki said.
"We want to apply a similar strategy to the one we applied a few months ago" but there was no need "at the moment" for a full lockdown, he said.
Poland has "around 500 spare respirators", he said, adding that on a national level, 60 percent of beds assigned for COVID-19 patients were still free.
Media reports however indicate that bed spaces have run out in the worst-affected parts of the country.
From Saturday, 38 municipalities will be considered red zones where stricter restrictions apply for public events and family occasions.
Poland's health ministry on Thursday said that in total 111,599 people have caught COVID-19 and 76,490 have recovered since the pandemic began.
There have been 2,867 deaths.
© 2020 AFP