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Polish president Andrzej Duda tests positive for Covid-19

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The Polish president, Andrzej Duda, has tested positive for coronavirus.

Duda’s spokesman, Błażej Spychalski, said on Twitter on Saturday that the 48-year-old conservative leader had been tested on Friday. He said the president felt well and was in isolation.

Duda’s diagnosis comes as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths in Poland rises rapidly after the country recorded only very low figures in the spring.

The rising infection rates are pushing Poland’s strained health system to breaking point. Doctors say patients are dying not only of Covid-19 but also of other illnesses that overwhelmed hospitals are no longer able to treat.

Poland coronavirus cases graph

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

Duda visited the National Stadium in Warsaw, which is being transformed into a field hospital, on Friday. He also met Iga Świątek, 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 an effort to bring the country’s outbreak under control.

The prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, appealed to Poles on Friday to observe the “serious restrictions” strictly to protect lives. The appeal came as the country of 38 million set another daily record for new infections, with more than 13,600 and 153 new deaths.

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 day-to-day governance is the responsibility of Morawiecki and his cabinet.

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