Quebec prohibits gatherings during the Christmas holidays as new coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations continue to emerge in the province.
Prime Minister François Legault announced the move on Thursday, more than a week before his self-imposed deadline to make a decision about the holiday season.
« With the numbers we have, it is unrealistic to believe that we will change the situation in time for Christmas, » he said. “We need to protect our nurses and our elderly. ”
The cancellation of Christmas events affects all regions on alert – this is most of the province. However, Quebecers who live alone are allowed to see another person during the vacation.
Legault said Quebec will take an extended break from school as planned and provide distance learning to elementary and high school students a few days before Christmas.
« I know we all want to see our family, but that’s not a very good idea, » he said.
Earlier this week, Legault said the government was considering its options as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic gains momentum.
In November, the province issued a revised plan that allows Quebecers to meet for a maximum of two meetings from December onwards. 24-27. In return, people had to voluntarily quarantine the week before and after as part of a “moral contract”. ”
« Unfortunately the situation has gotten worse, » he said, adding that it was manageable at the time he thought Christmas was going to happen.
However, according to Legault, the provincial health crisis has worsened again. Quebec reported Thursday 1. 470 new cases and 30 more deaths after hitting a record high in new infections the previous day.
Hospital admissions were also above 700 this week – another high for the second wave. The last time many patients were treated for COVID-19 was in June. Officials have warned a number of health facilities are slowly becoming thin.
« If we continue in this direction, the hospitals will be overrun, » Legault said, adding that health professionals are exhausted.
The number of cases in the province hit hard by the health crisis is 146. 532. Since March 7. 155 people died.
When asked if he was concerned about some multi-household events, Legault trusted the sense of responsibility of the Quebecers.
People living in red zones are also prohibited from traveling to the few regions where congregations are allowed, he added. Those who break the rules could also be fined.
« The virus is very dangerous, » said Legault. “We have to stay home and get some rest and we have to take care of each other. ”
The Mayor of Montreal Valérie Plante urged fellow citizens to find other ways to celebrate the holidays and cited how badly the city has been hit by the pandemic.
According to Plante, police are ready to intervene if necessary, but they said it is ultimately « an individual’s responsibility to protect ourselves, but mainly to protect others. ». « . ”
The government’s Christmas plan is lifted a day before new restrictions are put in place in shopping malls and retail stores.
The measures are aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 cases and limiting the amount that goes shopping during the holidays.
From Friday, a maximum number of customers will be allowed in these companies, depending on their size, and there must also be clear signage of the limit values.
According to the plan, masks and physical distances of two meters must also be enforced and adhered to in all stores.
Quebec will dispatch labor and safety teams to visit malls and stores and ensure public health measures are enforced. The police will do the rounds too.
Quebec, François Legault, Christmas Day, Coronavirus
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