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The Warsaw Voice » Society » August 29, 2014
Politics & Society
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In Brief
August 29, 2014   
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Poland Safe from Ebola: Experts

The risk of an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Poland is close to zero, medical experts have said.

According to Dr. Wacław L. Nahorski, Poland’s national consultant for maritime and tropical medicine, the highly infectious and incurable Ebola virus, which has killed over 1,145 people in four African countries, is a real threat only to medical staff in West Africa and anyone else who has had contact with infected patients. Recreational and business travelers are highly unlikely to be exposed to the virus. Prof. Andrzej Horban, the national consultant for contagious diseases, pointed out that countries where Ebola has broken out are not a popular destination among Polish tourists. “No immigrants are arriving in Poland from those countries either,” Horban said.

Nevertheless, doctors are urging everybody returning to Poland from Ebola-stricken areas to report to hospitals for tests. A case in point are high school students from Wrocław who spent almost a month in Liberia volunteering at a camp for the poor. The camp was closed down due to the Ebola threat shortly after the students left. After the trip, organized by the Salesians, a Roman Catholic religious order, the students each went their own way on vacations and contacting all of them is difficult. Only two have reported to hospitals so far and neither has shown any signs of infection. The African trip has been publicly criticized, but the organizers said that no warnings of serious epidemiological risks were announced while the young people were in Liberia.

Left Wingers Mull Election Team-up

The Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) party has proposed running jointly with all other left-wing parties and groups in Poland’s local elections this autumn. According to SLD leader Leszek Miller, should the other parties accept the SLD’s offer, the party is ready to hand half the places available on its ticket to them. During the recent European Parliament elections, the SLD was the only left-wing party in Poland to win any seats. Miller said that in any election, a single ticket targeted at a wide group of voters with similar views is better than several different tickets. He added that the European Parliament elections showed that the SLD is the only party capable of leading the left wing to victory.

Miller’s offer has been accepted by a number of small left-wing groups along with the OPZZ trade union and the Polish Teachers’ Union, known for its leftist inclinations. Your Movement, currently the largest left-wing party in parliament, has been far more skeptical about the SLD proposal. Led by controversial politician Janusz Palikot, Your Movement suffered a crushing defeat in the European Parliament elections and has since been in tough negotiations on teaming up with SLD in the upcoming local elections. An agreement seems to be a long way off, but opinion polls show that the left-wing electorate has been shrinking by the year. In several recent polls, left-wing parties have scored a combined 10-15 percent.
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