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Poland's daily coronavirus cases hit record high for fourth day running

FILE PHOTO: People are tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a drive-thru testing centre in Warsaw, Poland, October 2, 2020. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland reported a record daily rise in coronavirus cases for the fourth consecutive day on Friday, with 4,739 reported new infections, the Health Ministry said, as the country readies for a renewal of some restrictions from Saturday.

Wearing masks outside will be compulsory across the country, and a tightening of measures in schools is also expected to be announced. On Thursday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki did not rule out introducing a state of emergency if the number of cases continues to grow.

Some groups who also oppose vaccinations have said they will organise protests around the country on Saturday against the order to wear masks.

In total, the country of 38 million has reported 116,338 infections and 2,919 deaths in the pandemic. The biggest spike in new cases on Friday was reported in the southeast, where hospitals are running out of COVID-19 beds, according to local media reports.

The ministry said that as of Friday COVID-19 patients occupied 4,407 hospital beds all over the country and were using 320 ventilators, compared with 4,138 and 296 respectively a day earlier.

Ministry data also showed that while the number of new cases rose by 459 from Thursday, the number of tests conducted fell over 30% to 30,400, according to a revised figure issued on Friday evening.

The health ministry had initially said there were 21,500 tests, but that this was an incorrect figure caused by erroneous data sent by some laboratories which would be fixed later in the day.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko, Additional reporting by Alan Charlish,; Editing by John Stonestreet, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Frances Kerry