Quebec expected to extend lockdown 3 to 4 more weeks


According to La Presse this morning, faced with the unbridled progression of COVID-19, Prime Minister François Legault will announce the imposition of total containment on Wednesday, for a period of three to four weeks.

The pandemic is now out of control in Quebec and, grappling with a concerning increase in hospitalizations, Prime Minister François Legault will announce on Wednesday, the imposition of a new total containment, starting Saturday, for a period of three at four weeks. The public health directorate is also advocating the establishment of a curfew, the terms of which should be discussed with Public Security on Tuesday. A sensitive question that Mr. Legault will also decide on Wednesday.

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Legault has already met the leaders of the opposition parties in the National Assembly. These announcements were originally scheduled to fall on Tuesday, but were postponed due to the complexity of their application. Quebec wants to define the target groups this Tuesday and draw up the list of exceptions in a more orderly fashion than last spring.

As in the spring, this “total” lockdown is expected to include schools, offices, construction and the manufacturing sector. Only essential shops, grocery stores and pharmacies, may remain open. Quebec had already been put on hiatus last March, and many activities were put on hold before the holidays until January 11.

This new confinement is set to start this Saturday, indicated sources that were informed of the discussions between Public Health and Legault’s cabinet. Primary and secondary schools would be closed. However, primary students may be brought back before the planned three or four weeks.

According to La Presse sources, the public health department also proposed that a curfew be imposed. It remains to specify its duration: discussions touched on 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. until the next morning.

It remains to be seen what François Legault will do with this proposal, which has very heavy consequences. The applicability of this measure remains an unanswered question; Public Security will be consulted on Tuesday to set guidelines.

The recent decisions in the United Kingdom and in France have, it seems, powerfully helped to convince Quebec to speed up. On Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed new confinement on his country. In France, the curfew was brought forward from 8 p.m. and  6 p.m. on weekends in some eastern regions hit hard by the pandemic.

The Ministry of Health has asked institutions to increase the number of their intensive care beds to 150%. A hospital that, for example, had 20 of these beds would have to find room for 10 more patients.

Full article here in French only