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December 11, 2020 – 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.

New restrictions next week

Québec Premier François Legault will announce new restrictions in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 early next week if the current situation continues.

“We can’t tolerate the current level of contagion. If the situation continues, we’re going to have to add new restrictions,” said Mr. Legault.

The premier explained that Public Health is in the process of determining the regions where there are the most outbreaks and where added restrictions could reduce the number of contacts and the number of cases.

Mr. Legault reiterated that the Holiday period offers “a good opportunity to break the wave, because schools will be closed and construction sites will be dormant for two weeks.” The government is also calling on businesses to promote telework between December 17 and early January.

Two new MRCs on maximum alert

Two weeks before Christmas, the government is announcing that the regional county municipalities (MRCs) of the Pays-d’en-Haut and Laurentides have moved into red zones due to the fact that the number of people infected is increasing in these tourist regions, located close to Montréal.

The mayors of some municipalities, such as Saint-Sauveur, have openly expressed their concern over the last few weeks about the presence of tourists in their restaurants and the inherent risk of spreading the virus among their population.

Premier François Legault stressed that hospitals in Saint-Jérôme and Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts are starting to report a major increase in hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

12,000 a day if the trend continues

Premier Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to increase their efforts to limit their contacts and to protect themselves from the spread of the virus, which is peaking in many parts of the country each week.

Health Canada worries that if the population is not more disciplined in respecting the rules, the number of new cases will double, peaking at 12,000 cases a day in January, just barely three weeks from now.

Mr. Trudeau reiterated that at this rate, hospitals in some of the country’s regions will not be able to meet the demand for care and that medical staff is already “near exhaustion.”

Closure of the Canada-U.S. border extended

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel until January 21.

The border closure has been renewed monthly by way of a mutual agreement between the Canadian and U.S. governments since March 18.

Vaccination and the removal of isolation measures

Premier Legault noted that many considerations come into play in terms of the gradual removal of isolation measures as the vaccination campaign progresses.

The first vaccines should be administered on Monday across the country.

The minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, reiterated that Public Health experts confirmed that a fairly high vaccination rate, between 60 and 70% of the population, will be needed in order to be able to talk about herd community.