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December 22, 2020 – Provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

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

Appeal to follow the rules

Accompanied by the leaders of the three opposition parties in the National Assembly, Québec Premier François Legault urged Quebecers to follow the health rules in order to safeguard the healthcare network, as COVID-19 continues to spread.

After noting the new record in daily cases, the premier and the leaders of the Liberal Party, Québec solidaire and the Parti québécois, Dominique Anglade, Manon Massé and Paul St-Pierre-Plamondon, made the same appeal, stating that what should unite us is the fight against the virus.

Helping the healthcare system

As the virus continues to spread and the number of hospitalizations continues to climb, Premier Legault stressed that the situation is critical all over the world and prudence is in order.

With 1,055 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 and 7,000 health workers on sick leave, the situation is very fragile in the healthcare network, said Mr. Legault.

The premier, like the three opposition leaders, urged everyone to follow all of the rules in order to avoid finding themselves or their loved ones in the hospital because they were not careful.

Mr. Legault reiterated that the government can impose some control on schools and businesses, but “there’s one thing we can’t really control, and that’s what goes on inside people’s homes.

“Now’s not the time to figure out how to not get caught [evading the rules], now’s the time to be responsible,” said Mr. Legault.

Limited number of vaccine doses

While the production and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine offers a glimmer of hope against the pandemic, Mr. Legault stated that the number of available doses of the vaccine is very limited.

Mr. Legault noted that it has only been possible to vaccinate 4,875 people to date, that 50,000 doses will be available this week with an additional 29,000 doses in two weeks, for a total of 84,000.

Since two inoculations are required for the vaccine to be effective, only 42,000 people can be vaccinated.

Support for people living alone

Since the health rules limit people living alone to visiting only one family bubble during the Holidays, Premier Québec called on people to be supportive of these individuals and to contact them, since it is not possible to actually see them, in order to break the isolation they have been living through for the past 10 months.

Do not travel abroad

The premier also reiterated that “now’s not the time to travel South, even if it’s permitted.”

Like his Ontario counterpart, Doug Ford, Mr. Legault called on the federal government, whose jurisdiction it is, to put in place “very severe measures” to monitor people returning from travel so that they follow the quarantine rules. Also like the Ontario premier, Mr. Legault is considering reserving hotel rooms to ensure that people returning from abroad who are not able to self-isolate at home can still see through their quarantine.

Mr. Legault pointed out that it was travelers returning from overseas during the school break in March who largely contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in Québec.

Outbreaks under investigation

The government is calling for an investigation to understand the COVID-19 outbreaks among personnel in healthcare facilities, since the health rules in place should protect them from being infected by patients.