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Polish freedom icon Lech Walesa contracts Covid

Published January 21,2022

Polish freedom icon Lech Walesa said Friday he had contracted Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated and having received a booster shot, as Poland grapples with a record spike in infections.

"I have been infected," the 78-year-old former leader of the Solidarity labour movement said on Facebook.

"One -- I have a headache, two -- I can't warm up, three -- I feel like someone is ripping the flesh off my bones," he wrote.

Walesa has had health problems for years and underwent heart surgery last year.

Working as a shipyard electrician in the Baltic port city of Gdansk, Walesa stunned the communist bloc and the world when he led a 1980 strike by 17,000 shipyard workers.

The communist regime was forced to grudgingly recognise Solidarity as the Soviet bloc's first and only independent trade union after it gained millions of followers across Poland.

Walesa won the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership of Solidarity in 1983.

He later became Poland's first post-war democratically elected president in 1990.