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April 2, 2020 – New measures by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

In the exceptional circumstances of the current health state of emergency, here is an update on recent decisions by federal and provincial public authorities in connection with the coronavirus epidemic.

While the global coronavirus CODIV-19 pandemic is growing in Canada, two key issues stand out: maintaining and respecting isolation measures, social distancing and hand hygiene to control contagion, and providing protective and medical equipment to every health institution in the country.

Premier François Legault is calling for less tolerance for recalcitrants who are undermining the efforts of the majority of Quebecers who are respecting life-saving guidelines. “This is very serious. If everyone respects the guidelines, we’ll save hundreds of lives in Québec,” he said.

Municipal and Sûreté du Québec police officers have been ordered to issue tickets to offenders, because far too many people are still gathering in parks or keeping businesses open that are not offering essential services. This behaviour runs the risk of spreading the contagion with potentially deadly consequences, said the premier.

François Legault added that we must follow the guidelines by behaving as if we are all coronavirus carriers and that everyone we meet is too.

“The most important variable in the projections of the pandemic in Canada is how each and everyone of us conducts ourselves,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The numbers on contagion continue to grow in Canada and Québec. However, the number of deaths remains proportionately low, which is the objective in this fight against the pandemic.

The message they are hammering home is clear: the guidelines issued by public health authorities must be respected. Specifically, no one is to go outside unless it is essential, everyone must maintain a distance of two metres during essential outings, and hands must be washed for 20 seconds upon returning home.

Wage subsidies

Premier Legault announced wage subsidies totalling $287 M for all hospital service workers in direct contact with people infected with COVID-19. There will also be an increase of $4 per hour for patient attendants working in private residences.

 Protective equipment

Governments have turned to international and domestic markets to meet the need for personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves and coats, as well as medical equipment, such as swabs, chemical reactants, respirators, and so on.

In Québec, the needs can be met for about seven days, depending on what each day brings. The premier said he is confident that within three to four weeks it will be possible for Québec businesses to produce most of the necessary products.

Reflecting on preparedness

Prime Minister Trudeau said that every country around the world will have to reflect on their preparedness for a pandemic.

“We’re learning a lot from this crisis but, for the time being, the most important thing is to provide the necessary equipment to care for people and flatten the contagion curve, in order to avoid overloading our health system. What’s important is that we protect people today, for tomorrow.”

The time will come later to assess the crisis and to determine if certain countries hid the real numbers on their contagion rates, said Justin Trudeau.

Compiling comparable data

Prime Minister Trudeau also announced that scientists are compiling data that can be compared so that it can be correctly interpreted. Public authorities are being questioned more and more about the statistics on the pandemic in the country, by province, by region and by city, and this must be made public.

“What we know now is that our personal conduct, that is, respecting health guidelines, has the greatest impact on future scenarios,” said Mr. Trudeau.

Police officers and scientists

Today, Mr. Legault acknowledged police officers, as well as the hundred or so scientists who are working alongside Mr. Arruda, for their sense of duty and their round-the-clock commitment.