Poland’s new education minister tests positive for COVID, swearing-in postponed

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland rescheduled a ceremony at which the president was to confirm new ministers on Monday, after the incoming education minister said he had tested positive for coronavirus.

Przemyslaw Czarnek, 43, announced he had been infected ahead of an event at the presidential palace, where President Andrzej Duda was due to confirm the cabinet line-up after a government reshuffle announced last week.

“I was tested this morning due to a headache so as not to expose the President, the cabinet and other participants in today’s events. I feel good. Don’t underestimate the symptoms,” Czarnek, said in a tweet posted on Monday.

The ceremony was moved to Tuesday, Presidential spokesman Blazej Spychalski told public television.

Health authorities said that anyone who had contact with Czarnek between Oct. 2 and Oct. 5 would have to self-isolate.

The government spokesman said on Twitter that those people included Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin, outgoing Education Minister Dariusz Piontkowski, the prime minister’s chief of staff Michal Dworczyk and Deputy Climate Minister Jacek Ozdoba.

“The decision to quarantine members of cabinet does not adversely affect the proper functioning of the government,” the spokesman tweeted, adding that ministers have been meeting via video conferences for many months. .

The appointment of Czarnek, a conservative lecturer as a Catholic university, has been criticized by some, with the Chief Rabbi of Poland and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights expressing concern in a statement over his views on LGBT communities and Polish-Jewish history.

Czarnek took part in an event last Wednesday during which Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced the government reshuffle, with many of the new ministers present

Morawiecki has since cancelled a Monday appearance in the southern region of Silesia, Polish private broadcaster TVN reported.

Poland on Saturday reported a new record of new daily coronavirus infections. As of Monday, Poland had a total of 102,080 confirmed cases and 2,659 deaths.

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska and Pawel Florkiewicz; Editing by Alex Richardson

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