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Coronavirus: Polish President Duda tests positive for COVID-19

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File photo: Poland's President Andrzej Duda casts his vote during the presidential election in Krakow, Poland. June 28, 2020.
File photo: Poland's President Andrzej Duda casts his vote during the presidential election in Krakow, Poland. June 28, 2020.   -   Copyright  Beata Zawrzal/AP
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Polish President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for coronavirus but "is doing well", his spokesman said on Saturday.

Blazej Spychalski said on Twitter that the 48-year-old conservative leader was tested on Friday, adding the president was in isolation.

“The president feels good,” Spychalski said. "We are in constant contact with the relevant medical services.”

It was not clear when Duda was infected. He attended an investment forum in Tallinn on Monday where he met Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, who later had to self-isolate after being in contact with another person with the virus in his country.

While Duda’s main constitutional roles include guiding foreign policy and signing legislation, many of his duties are ceremonial, with a majority of the country’s day-to-day governance the responsibility of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki's government.

On Friday, the president visited the National Stadium in Warsaw, which is being transformed into a field hospital to help take the strain off health facilities.

On Friday he also bestowed state honours on Iga Swiatek, the 19-year-old Polish tennis player who won the French Open earlier this month, and her father and trainer, Tomasz Swiatek.

Duda and the Swiateks wore masks and gloves, but stood very close and shook hands as the president pinned the awards on them.

Iga Swiatek said she and others on her team have no symptoms but would go into quarantine. She said they are tested regularly and would be tested again in three days.

The news came as Poland faced a surge in confirmed new cases of COVID-19 and virus-related deaths in Poland, a nation that saw only very low infection rates in the spring.

The fast spread of the virus is pushing Poland'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.

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