Polish President Duda tests positive for coronavirus

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Andrzej Duda, the current Polish president, seen at the Krakow-Balice military airport, ahead of his trip to the White House, where he was due to meet with US President Donald Trump.Artur Widak | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Polish President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for the coronavirus, his spokesman said on Saturday.Spokesman Blazej Spychalski said on Twitter that the 48-year-old Tory leader had been tested the day before and his result was positive. He said the president feels good and is isolated.

Duda’s diagnosis comes amid a huge increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in Poland, a country that saw very low numbers in the spring.

Soaring infection rates are pushing the country’s strained health system to breaking point. Doctors say patients are now dying not only from COVID-19, but also from other diseases that overwhelmed hospitals are unable to treat now.

The government is preparing to open field hospitals, but it does not know where it will find the doctors and nurses to staff them.

Duda visited the Warsaw National Stadium on Friday, which is being converted into one of the field hospitals. He also met Iga Swiatek, the 19-year-old Polish tennis player who won the French Open earlier this month on Friday.

The Polish government on Saturday imposed new restrictions that are just ahead of a lockdown in hopes of bringing the country’s outbreak under control.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday called on Poles to strictly adhere to these “serious restrictions” in order to protect lives. The call came as the nation of 38 million people hit another daily record for new infections, more than 13,600, with 153 new deaths.

Overall, Poland has recorded 4,172 virus-related deaths during the pandemic.

Duda’s main 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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