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World News

New national lockdown ruled out in Poland despite rising COVID-19 cases

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland reported 809 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the sixth record daily rise in two weeks, but Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin ruled out a new nationwide lockdown.

FILE PHOTO: Health workers wearing protective gear are seen at a mobile testing station for miners of the Bielszowice coal mine, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Ruda Slaska, Poland July 27, 2020. Grzegorz Celejewski/Agencja Gazeta/via REUTERS

According to the Health Ministry’s Twitter account, most of the cases were in and around big cities including the capital Warsaw, Katowice and Krakow.

It said 259 of the new infections were in the Silesia coal mining region, where the main city is Katowice.

As of Friday 1,279 coal miners were now infected, mostly in state-run coal producer PGG, data cited by state news agency PAP showed.

The increase in new infections was faster and higher than predicted by Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski on Thursday, when he saw the daily tally rising to up to 700 during and after the weekend.

The conservative nationalist government has imposed stricter sanitary rules on a number of Polish counties, which include compulsory wearing of protective face masks outside the home.

It has banned conferences, sport events and concerts, closed cinemas and gyms, and imposed a 50-person limit on the number of people taking part in weddings though churches and hotels remain open.

But Sasin told state television before the latest figures were announced: “There is no way that we would impose a general lockdown again.”

“There is no talk today, with the rising number of infected people or very high number of those who are still infected, of coming back to closing the economy,” he said.

Poland has reported 50,324 COVID-19 cases overall, and 1,787 deaths.

Critics have said the government is not conducting health checks on a big scale, and this means a lot of people who are infected are unaware of it and infect others.

Reporting by Marcin Goclowski, Alan Charlish, Anna Koper, and Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by John Stonestreet and Timothy Heritage

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