Poland to enter national quarantine starting Dec. 28 to fight COVID-19

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FILE PHOTO: A health worker in protective suit waits for people at a test center in Warsaw

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland will enter a national quarantine from Dec. 28-Jan. 17 that will include the closure of hotels, ski slopes and shopping malls, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Thursday, with businesses expected to get 40 bln zlotys in support.

Poland's health system has struggled to grapple with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with new daily cases reaching over 27,000 a day at its peak in November.

Niedzielski warned about a third wave of the pandemic in the new year and told Poles to remain vigilant amidst recent news that the first coronavirus vaccine doses could arrive in Poland this month.

"I call on every Pole to be responsible for themselves and their loved ones. But I know that calls won't help," Niedzielski told a press conference.

While no new restrictions would be imposed for Christmas, he said there would be a curfew on New Year's Eve from 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 6 a.m. on Jan. 1 to limit the virus's spread and that there would be a 10-day quarantine for those returning to the country by public transportation.

The government will seek to support businesses affected by the new restrictions with 40 billion zlotys in fresh financing, Poland's Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin added in a separate news conference.

Poland aims to vaccinate its entire adult population of around 30 million, setting up 8,000 vaccination points across the country in one of the largest logistical challenges its health service has ever faced.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish, Alicja Ptak, Pawel Florkiewicz, Writing by Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Bernadette Baum)