Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for coronavirus | News | DW | 24.10.2020

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Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for coronavirus

The president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, has tested positive for the coronavirus but is "feeling well." Poland has reported its highest daily new infections as new measures come into force to slow the spread of the virus.

Polish President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for COVID-19 as the country faces a surge in new infections. Spokesman Blazej Spychalski announced the news on Saturday and said Duda, an ally of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice party, was "feeling fine."

There was no immediate word on how the diagnosis of the 48-year-old conservative leader would affect government operations. 

Read more: Coronavirus digest: Deaths in Germany pass 10,000

While it was initially unclear when Duda was infected, he attended an investment forum in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, on Monday, where he met with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, who is now in quarantine after having been directly exposed to the virus. 

"The president is a young man, I think that he will get past the infection without problems," Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska told private radio station RMF. He added that he expects that all people who had contact with Duda in recent days will be quarantined.

Poland enters partial lockdown

Poland is facing a spike in new infections, with cases hitting a daily record of more than 13,600 on Friday. The country of 38 million people has reported more than 228,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, and a death toll of 4,172. 

Poland went into a "red zone" lockdown on Saturday, resulting in a two-week partial closure of primary schools and restaurants. During the lockdown, restaurants will only be able to serve takeaway meals. Fitness clubs and pools will also be closed. 

The government has also sent text messages to Poles, calling on them to stay home and help elderly people. 

Under the new measures, gatherings have been limited to five people, with weddings banned and new restrictions placed on the numbers of people allowed to enter shops, take public transport and attend religious services. The country has seen large protests following a ruling that limits abortions.

Meanwhile, officials are building additional temporary medical facilities and transforming the national stadium into a field hospital in Warsaw.

The ruling nationalist party has faced criticism in recent days from the opposition that the country is not prepared for the second coronavirus wave.

Recent opinion polls have also shown a drop in support for both the governing Law and Justice party and Duda.

lc/sms (AFP, Reuters, AP)