Poland reports record rise in coronavirus deaths

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Poland on Saturday reported a record 548 new coronavirus deaths over a 24-hour period, just days after the government decided against introducing nationwide quarantine.

The new daily figure announced by the put the total COVID-19 death toll at more than 10,000 in the EU member of 38 million people.

The ministry also reported 25,571 new infections—a couple thousand off from the daily record reported last weekend—bringing the total to close to 700,000.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had warned that November would be an "extremely challenging time" when he introduced a new round of anti-virus restrictions earlier this month, including closing most stores in shopping centres.

He said at the time that the government would be forced to introduce a nationwide quarantine if the number of new infections were to surpass 70-75 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

On Thursday, he announced he had good news, saying "this week, for the first time in two months, the number of infections began to fall" and was at 65 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

"This is the first sign of stabilisation... No need to introduce nationwide quarantine," he added on Facebook.

After journalists pointed out that the drop in infections had coincided with reduced testing, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski countered that "the diminishing number (of tests) was in itself a reflection of the fact that the pandemic was stabilising."

Since last month, have been mandatory in and restaurants have been open for take away only in Poland, where the second wave surge is straining healthcare facilities to breaking point.

© 2020 AFP

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