March 26, 2021 – 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.

Third wave of contagion in Québec

 Québec Premier François Legault confirmed that a third wave of COVID-19 contagion is looming in Québec with a significant increase in the number of cases over the last two days.

“We were expecting an increase in cases because the British variant is more contagious and more dangerous. The number of cases is increasing and will continue to increase. The most important thing is to track hospitalizations,” said Mr. Legault. So far, hospitalizations are below the 500 mark despite the rise in the number of people infected.

The premier is reassured by the fact that the most vulnerable people, those over 65, have almost all been vaccinated.

“For now, we’re going to follow the situation closely. Tuesday (coming), we’ll take stock of the situation and make the necessary decisions,” said Mr. Legault. “If people follow the guidelines, things will remain under control, if not, we could be hit by a big wave.”

Extreme caution

While health experts are predicting an outbreak in the number of cases of COVID-19 due to the British variant, and are calling for tighter health measures to avoid a worsening of the health crisis and a third wave, Premier Legault is appealing to Quebecers to be “ extremely cautious and to respect the guidelines.”

Mr. Legault took the time to reiterate the measures that must be followed, including the wearing of a mask, social distancing and handwashing, while warning against social contact to stop the spread of the virus.

“Just because the curfew has gone from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. does not mean we should be gathering in homes. It’s still prohibited. This is what is most concerning to me,” said the premier.

Ensuring compliance

Premier Legault explained that he is following the recommendations put forward by the Québec government’s public health experts and fully understands why scientists feel that the threat of a third wave—with even more contagious variants—must prompt political leaders to strengthen the rules, not ease them.

However, he acknowledged that Quebecers are growing tired of complying with the guidelines and that, with this in mind, a balance must be struck between the health measures and the population’s willingness to comply with them.

Concerns about Easter and Passover festivities

Premier François Legault said he is “worried” about the risks associated with gathering during Easter and Passover festivities.

The premier explained that, already, several regions that have moved into the orange alert zone are being closely monitored due to the upsurge in COVID cases, namely, the Outaouais, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Québec City and Chaudière-Appalaches.

An invitation to vaccination

This afternoon, Premier François Legault, aged 63, was vaccinated at the Olympic Stadium vaccination centre and invited the entire population to make an appointment based on their age group.

The premier explained that the painless vaccination is Quebecers’ passport to freedom, while reiterating that it takes three weeks for the vaccine to reach full efficacy.