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April 4, 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 pandemic.

The governments are aware that it is difficult to respect the guidelines but they have been put in place to save lives, adding that despite the difficulty we must persevere in order to overcome this virus.

The director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, confirmed that community transmission now exists all across Québec.

Tomorrow, the prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, will be holding a videoconference on Radio-Canada to answer questions from children, alongside Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam. Children can send their questions to the prime minister by e-mail up until 6 p.m. today. Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen will also be live on YouTube tomorrow to talk about confinement.

Assessment and projections
Mr. Trudeau stated that the data will be updated each day in order to give Canadians a complete portrait of the situation. He reiterated that the measures put in place by the different levels of government are saving lives and everyone must do their part for that to continue. “This must be taken seriously.”

He said that he knows Canadians are waiting for answers on the state of the situation in the next few weeks and months. Mr. Trudeau specified that the more the hygiene, isolation and distancing measures are followed, the more lives will be saved, which will allow us to return to a normal way of life as quickly as possible.

The deputy premier of Québec, Geneviève Guilbault, reiterated that behind the daily statistics are human beings, people who are suffering and worried, and there are also our guardian angels.

“The best thing we can do is to make sure that everyone is following the public health guidelines.”

Respecting the guidelines
The deputy premier stressed that the public health and safety guidelines have the force of law, that it is important to follow them, not defy them. She asked Quebecers to denounce any gatherings or non-essential stores that are still open despite everything.

“Report any situation to law enforcement without, however, sinking into collective paranoia. We can no longer accept that isolated groups of people are undermining collective efforts.”

Call for civic-mindedness
The Government of Québec is calling for Quebecers to show civic mindedness toward police officers and hospital staff. The risk of contamination among healthcare workers could lead to staff shortages in hospitals.

“If you have symptoms or have been declared positive, say so in order to protect everyone.”

Travel between regions and cities prohibited
Ms Guilbault announced that the region of Charlevoix and the city of Rouyn-Noranda have been added to the list of regions where non-essential travel is now prohibited, in order to control comings and goings and reinforce the regulations to protect these communities.

Support for shelters
The federal government announced new measures to protect all members of our society against COVID-19, including the most vulnerable. In this context, for women who are scared to stay home, $40 M will be invested in shelters for victims of violence and sexual assault, and $10 M for emergency shelters for Indigenous women and children.

There has been a $157-M increase in support for the homeless in order to buy additional beds and rent new spaces so that these individuals can sleep adequately spaced apart from each other.

Protective equipment
In the next 24 hours, Canada will receive millions of masks by chartered plane from China. A warehouse has been rented to store and ship this equipment as quickly as possible. Mr. Trudeau thanked for their commitment all those who are coordinating transport and piloting planes.

Prime Minister Trudeau spoke several times to U.S. President Donald Trump to stress the importance of maintaining good trade relations between our countries in order to maintain the exchange of essential services on both sides of the border. He specified that the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) is still in place and guarantees this exchange.

Drug reserves
After personal protective equipment, respirators and reagents for COVID-19 tests, the authorities are taking actions to avoid drug shortages, considering the current needs worldwide.

In this context, drug prescription must be very rigorous. The government is also studying the possibility of using substitutes or older medications. All drug supply is now centralized with the government rather than managed at the institutional level, as with protective equipment.

The minister of Health and Social Services, Danielle McCann, specified that the Québec government’s number one priority right now, at the express request of Premier François Legault, is Québec self-sufficiency in terms of the production of protective and healthcare equipment.

Semi-urgent surgery
The director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, stated that he believes the pandemic in Québec is presently under control. Minister Danielle McCann added that health system officials are currently studying the possibility of resuming medical interventions other than those for COVID-19 that are semi-urgent, such as certain operations and cancer treatments.

Urgent interventions, regardless of the type, have always been maintained.

The deputy premier of Québec provided an update on the flooding situation, which is under control at present and said that the cities and MRCs have been trained to intervene in times of pandemic. If the situation changes, they are prepared to intervene.
She reminded people not to gather around flood areas out of curiosity.

Today, Ms Guilbault gave thanks to children, whose lives have also been turned upside down, for their solidarity with their parents, and encouraged them to stay strong.