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Poland reopening outdoor playgrounds as it lightens sporting curbs

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Poland plans to reopen outdoor sports areas on May 4 and will allow top-league football matches to be played at the end of next month as part of a lightening of restrictions set up to stop coronavirus spreading.

Earlier in April Poland began relaxing some of the curbs, saying they were expensive to the economy. It has reopened forests and parks, and made the number of customers in shops easier.

By Saturday, the 38 million-strong EU member state had reported 11,067 cases and 499 deaths.

"Sport is an important part of the national economy that contributes to health improvement and we are aware of how important it is to restore normality," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a Saturday news conference.

He added that reopening indoor sports halls, followed by swimming pools and fitness clubs would be the next step in easing sports restrictions.

Poland will also allow end of May for top league soccer games without spectators and mid-June speedway races.

Morawiecki said that for Polish athletes preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games, which were postponed until 2021, two specialized sports centers would be launched.

"I hope our sportspeople will return with a bag full of medals from the Olympics," Sports Minister Danuta Dmowska-Andrzejuk said at the news conference.

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