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Poland expects sharp rise in coronavirus cases

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WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland expects rapid growth in coronavirus infections, Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski said on Monday, as the country braces for new restrictions aimed at curbing the pandemic.

As of Monday, 1,984 people had tested positive for coronavirus in the country of 38 million, while 26 people had died, according to the health ministry.

“We are entering a new phase of the epidemic … We are expecting a very rapid growth in the number of infections in the coming weeks. This number will be rising at an exponential pace,” Szumowski told news conference.

Szumowski said further restrictions on people’s movements were needed as earlier measures were not sufficient to contain the virus. He did not say what the new restrictions would be.

Poland has shuttered schools, theaters and cinemas and limited public gatherings. It has also closed its borders until mid-April, told Poles only to leave their homes for essential purposes and announced measures to support the economy.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is expected to announce further restrictions, an aide said.

Szumowski said he would be able to give a recommendation in early April on whether presidential elections should be held on May 10, as planned.

The ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party has insisted on conducting them as planned despite the coronavirus.

Reporting by Marcin Goclowski, Editing by Joanna Plucinska and Giles Elgood

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via Reuters