East Europe hit with new COVID-19 wave as Polish, Bulgarian leaders test positive
Published: Oct 26, 2020 08:18 PM

People wearing face masks walk in the Old Town of Warsaw, Poland. (Xinhua/Zhou Nan)

East Europe is facing a grim resurgence of COVID-19 as Polish President Andrzej Duda and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov have tested positive for the coronavirus, and some local residents and Chinese in Poland said that the reopening of schools and resumption of gatherings have contributed to a second wave that seems to be more fierce than the first one. 

Duda tested positive for the virus on Friday, and Duda's spokesman said on Friday that the president felt well and was in isolation.

Almost three-fifths of the Poland's 228,318 total cases as of Friday were detected since the start of October, the Financial Times reported. 

One day after Duda's infection was confirmed, the Polish government imposed new restrictions as it sought to get the outbreak under control.

A Chinese woman in Zgierz, central Poland, who gave her name as Kay, told the Global Times on Monday that the country is restricting travel between regions and outdoor gatherings, while locking down some areas to curb the coronavirus. Though no curfews have been imposed, restaurants and bars are closed for safety concerns. 

Kay said she and one of her local Polish friends believed that the current second wave of the epidemic might be the result of the population flows after schools reopened and small gatherings among some residents. 

The rising infections are putting Poland's health system under pressure, and Kay and her friend believe that a lack of hospital beds is becoming a prominent issue in Poland.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Borissov also said on his Facebook page on Sunday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was being treated at home. On Friday, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works of Bulgaria Nikolay Nankov confirmed that he tested positive as well.

All of Europe is experiencing a strong new wave of COVID-19, with France extending a curfew that covered two-thirds of the population on Friday. 

The 27 countries of the EU and the UK have now surpassed the US in terms of new cases per million for the first time since the spring.

Chinese public health experts told the Global Times that the pandemic in Europe has never been fully controlled. With winter approaching, Europe is likely to witness a fresh wave of infections. 

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