Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for the coronavirus
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for the coronavirus, his spokesman said on Saturday.
The spokesman, Blazej Spychalski, said on Twitter that the 48-year-old conservative leader was tested Friday and his result was positive. He said the president feels well and is in isolation.
Duda’s diagnosis comes amid a huge surge in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and deaths in Poland, a nation that saw only very low numbers in the spring.
The spiking infection rates are pushing the country’s strained health system to the breaking point. Doctors say patients are now dying not only from COVID-19, but from other illnesses that overwhelmed hospitals are not able to treat now.
The government is preparing to open field hospitals but it is not sure where it will find the doctors and nurses to staff them.
France has recorded over 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic’s start, the second country in Western Europe to reach that number.
Duda on Friday visited the National Stadium in Warsaw, which is being transformed into one of the field hospitals. He also met Friday with Iga Swiatek, the 19-year-old Polish tennis player who won the French Open earlier this month.
The Polish government imposed new restrictions on Saturday that are just short of a lockdown in hopes of bringing the country’s outbreak under control.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki appealed Friday to Poles to strictly observe these “serious restrictions” in order to protect lives. The appeal came as the nation of 38 million hit another daily record of new infections, over 13,600, with 153 new deaths.
Overall, Poland has recorded 4,172 virus-related deaths in the pandemic.
Duda’s key constitutional roles include guiding foreign policy and signing legislation. But most of the day-to-day governance is the responsibility of Morawiecki and his Cabinet.
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