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APRIL 13, 2021 – Federal and provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Canadian and Québec governments in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Third wave hitting hard

As the world is being hit by the third wave of COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to be extremely concerned about the rise in cases in Canada and the rapid spread of the many variants.

“In several regions of Canada, COVID cases are on the rise, and we are unfortunately in the third wave, with more contagious variants that are spreading at the same time as millions of Canadians are receiving their first dose of the vaccine.”

The prime minister called on Canadians to redouble their efforts in the hopes of being able to enjoy the summer. “Just a few more weeks of following the guidelines and we can look forward to a good summer. We must not give up now,” he said.

Three regions in Québec being closely monitored

Today, Québec reported 1,486 new cases and 12 deaths, with 643 people in hospital.

The three regions of particular concern—namely, the Québec City area, Outaouais and Chaudière-Appalaches—have the highest number of active cases in the province. The government has therefore extended  the emergency measures in these regions until April 28. These measures include maintaining the 8 p.m. curfew as well as the closure of non-essential businesses and schools.

Montréal and Laval are also being closely monitored due to the high number of active cases, although the situation remains stable at the moment. The 8 p.m. curfew is being maintained, while schools and non-essential businesses remain open. The Montérégie, Laurentians and Lanaudière regions are also experiencing an increase to some extent, but additional measures have not been imposed. Meanwhile, the Côte-Nord region is reporting an increase in cases and has moved into orange.

Masks to be worn outside

Starting today, masks will be mandatory outside when people from two different family bubbles are less than two metres apart.

Cases still on the rise

“There’s been an increase in cases of about 30% in Canada over the last few weeks. Cases are on the rise across the country, so we have to be careful,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.

She drove home the importance of continuing the follow the health guidelines, such as wearing a mask, observing physical distancing and regular handwashing.

Across Québec, the current situation is fragile due to the presence of the different variants. No region is immune to a rise in cases and caution is needed throughout the province. Moreover, the majority of people who are being hospitalized are under 65 years of age, and the number of young people in intensive care has doubled.

The long-term effects of the disease among young people are proving to be serious. Premier François Legault reiterated that young people who are being hospitalized are experiencing more serious consequences. Caution is therefore of the utmost importance. “It’s your health that’s at stake,” said the premier, in his message to young people.

Since the portrait of hospitalizations has changed considerably over the last few weeks, a return to normalcy will not be possible before June 24, at least. May and June will therefore be determining.

44 million vaccine doses by the end of June

Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated that Canada should be receiving close to 44 million vaccine doses by the end of June.

One million doses of the Pfizer vaccines arrived this week and 850,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine were received today (April 13) alone.

Premier Legault stated that vaccination means freedom. At the moment, two million Quebecers have been vaccinated and everyone who wants the vaccine will receive it by June 21, 2021.

Starting April 13, people with a chronic disease as well as essential workers will be able to make a vaccination appointment anywhere in Québec.

“We’re here for Canadians”

Justin Trudeau reiterated that there are different programs to help Canadians who are more seriously affected by the pandemic, such as the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) for caregivers or the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB). These programs allow people who are eligible, namely employed and self-employed individuals, to obtain financial assistance. Information about these programs is available at canada.ca/coronavirus.

“Since the start of the pandemic, I promised that we’d be there to help Canadians, no matter how long it lasts. We’re not going to forget about anyone, and the assistance programs will remain in place for as long as needed,” said Mr. Trudeau.