WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Lech Walesa, Poland’s 80-year-old former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, said Thursday that he is improving after being hospitalized with a bad case of COVID-19.
A post on Walesa’s Facebook page shows him lying on a hospital bed with his thumbs raised and a brief caption saying he believes he is going to pull through once again. He was no longer wearing an oxygen mask that he had in a photo on Tuesday.
The former anti-communist dissident has faced multiple health scares in past years. He has diabetes and a heart condition that requires him to use a pacemaker. This is his second time having COVID-19.
Walesa’s assistant, Marek Kaczmar, told The Associated Press that the former president was feeling better and his appetite had returned. Kaczmar said doctors plan to decide in the coming days when to send him home from the hospital in Gdansk, the Baltic port city where Walesa lives.
One of his children, Polish lawmaker Jaroslaw Walesa, wished his father a speedy recovery from a podium in the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, on Wednesday.
He encouraged his father to be in better shape by Monday, when Poland’s outgoing right-wing government is expected to fail to win the backing of parliament, paving the way for a new centrist government led by political veteran Donald Tusk — an ally of Walesa’s —to take power.
“Monday will be a really good day. And I hope he will watch it with a smile on his face. We are returning to normality,” his son told fellow lawmakers.
The elder Walesa posted a clip on Facebook of his son speaking in parliament and with it wrote: “OK.”
Starting in 1980, Walesa spearheaded Poland’s pro-democracy Solidarity movement that nine years later led to the peaceful ouster of communism from Poland and inspired other countries to shed Moscow’s domination.
In 1983 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1990-95 he served as democratic Poland’s first popularly elected president.