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April 22, 2021- Québec government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the provincial government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Record day for vaccinations

Yesterday, April 21, was a record day for vaccinations in Québec, with 85,000 doses administered, including more than 30,000 doses of AstraZeneca.

Two new priority groups

Before opening up vaccination to the general population, the government would like to prioritize two new groups who are not currently included in the priority groups: people with a chronic illness who do not require hospital follow-up and people with a disability.

“We’re expanding the priority group of people with chronic illnesses to include respiratory diseases, diabetes and any other chronic illness that does not require hospital follow-up,” said Minister of Health and Social Services Christian Dubé.

“A non-exhaustive list of those who are eligible is available on the Québec government website, however, no one will be playing police, we’re relying on the honour system. If you suffer from a illness that affects you, make an appointment,” he said.

Vaccinations for those with a chronic illness, which represents 250,000 people in Québec, will start as of tomorrow morning, April 23 at 8 a.m.

For those in the second group, that is, the people with a disability, vaccination  will be available as of April 28.

The government expects the vaccination campaign for the general population to kick off “not in months, but in weeks,” said Mr. Dubé.

The massive arrival of Pfizer vaccine doses in Canada is what is enabling the government to expand the range of those eligible for vaccination. Québec will have access to 900,000 additional doses in May.

Drive-through and workplace vaccinations

“We’re preparing to vaccinate all Quebecers, and the first workplace vaccination sites will kick off next week in addition to two drive-through vaccination sites,” said Daniel Paré, the director of the vaccination campaign.

Lower COVID case numbers in Québec

The government is extremely pleased with the drop in the number of cases in Québec, but specified that it will take a few days before seeing results.

The Chaudière-Appalaches and Outaouais regions are still on high alert due to the high number of patients in hospital.

New Indian variant

During a media scrum earlier today, Premier François Legault said that at present he has no intention of tightening border measures in order to contain the Indian variant, which has just appeared in Québec.

He considers the existing border measures to be adequate for the time being. However, authorities will be monitoring the situation very closely.

Flights from India suspended

The federal government is suspending all non-essential flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days in order to slow the spread of the B.1.617 variant. This decision was made with Canada recording 40 cases of this new variant, which is currently ravaging India. On Wednesday, British Columbia had 39 cases of the B.1.617 variant, while Québec has recorded one case.