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March 29, 2020 – New measures by governments and Montréal to limit the contagion of COVID-19

In the exceptional circumstances of the current health state of emergency, here is an update on recent decisions by public authorities in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke encouragingly, reminding us that although the last week has been very difficult for many people, we must continue to follow the directives regarding isolation, social distancing and hygiene so that we can get through this global pandemic as soon possible.

Premier François Legault explained that the current measures are working, that no new deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours, and that Québec, along with Alberta and Ontario, are the three places in the world where the most people are being tested, proportionately speaking.

The federal government has added measures to help young people as well as support measures for seniors during this exceptional and unprecedented time in our history.

Both governments continue to remind people to stay home, keep a two-metre distance from each other and follow the rules of hygiene, while stressing that we must show solidarity more than ever and stay positive so that we can get through this challenge together.

Mr. Trudeau highlighted gestures of solidarity, like the rainbows people are putting up in their windows to encourage each other. He said that the Champlain Bridge will be lit tonight, in the colours of the rainbow, as a show of solidarity.

François Legault explained that the restricted access to eight regions in northern and eastern Québec is designed to limit the chances of contagion, knowing that fewer people are infected in these regions. As for the two most affected regions, Montréal and the Eastern Townships, he called on municipal mayors to identify the neighbourhoods with the most cases of COVID-19.

Agglomeration of Montréal
The director of public health for Montréal, Dr. Mylène Drouin, gave an update on the situation in Montréal and confirmed that Montréal has reached the phase of community transmission of the coronavirus COVID-19.

Six boroughs have reported more than 50 cases, namely, Côte-Saint-Luc, Côtes-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, Plateau Mont-Royal, Ville-Marie and LaSalle. In certain neighbourhoods, the situation is advancing due to community transmission. Over 40% of cases are people 51 years of age or over and 20% of cases are youth between the ages of 19 and 29.

At the request of the national director of public health for Québec, Dr. Horacio Arruda, the state of emergency declared for the Island of Montréal on Friday was renewed for five days and additional measures will be added today to ensure compliance with the directives of isolation, social distancing and against gatherings.

Surveillance will be increased in neighbourhoods and SPVM police officers can issue offence reports that could be used to prosecute people who refuse to comply with the directives. Anyone affected by COVID-19 is required to cooperate with Public Health, otherwise the SPVM will intervene.

Citizens have been asked to call 911 to report any non-compliance regarding unusual gatherings close to where they live.

These measures have become necessary due to individuals who are refusing to comply with public health directives to limit contagion, while it was acknowledged that most of the population on the Island of Montréal is respecting them.

Reminder of the directives
People must stay at home. Outdoors, a distance of two metres must be maintained at all times. If it is essential to go out, it is recommended that people go alone and wash their hands with soap for 20 seconds when they return home.
People returning from travel, whether or not they present signs of COVID-19, must go into mandatory isolation for 14 days and not leave the house, unless they develop symptoms of the coronavirus, in which case they must make an appointment and go for testing.

Assistance for young people – 1-800-668-6868
The federal government announced a $7.5-million investment in the organization Kids Help Phone, where young people can call (1-800-668-6868), text (686868) or go online (kidshelphone.ca) to talk, share their concerns, be listened to and receive support during this difficult time. This service is available 24/7, in both languages.

The federal government is giving $9 million to Centraide to help seniors, who are the most vulnerable to developing serious complications from COVID-19, by providing a range of services such as health checks and grocery delivery. This will allow seniors to stay in their homes.

The Québec government announced more resources for long-term care facilities and in senior residences to ensure more controls and verifications of symptoms at the entrances of these establishments. Mr. Legault stressed that centres for seniors are the most sensitive and most vulnerable spots in the current context.

Call for donations
Prime Minister Trudeau also called on people to make donations to the organizations they support and value. In the current context, many charitable organizations are lacking funds to meet the dramatic increase in the needs and requests for assistance.

Detention centres
The federal government expressed its concern about detention centres and is continuing to work with correctional services so that prisoners and staff can follow the necessary directives in order to keep everyone safe.

The Québec government expressed its hope that businesses will reopen as soon as possible once this crisis is over. Public Health added that the current interruption is an opportunity for businesses to rethink the way they work in their particular sector. New protective measures, a review of work processes, the possibility of working from home and a healthier family-work balance will emerge from this crisis.

The prime minister of Canada expressed his appreciation for everyone who is volunteering, since more and more people are counting on them.

Today, the premier of Québec gave special thanks to those delivering food to seniors and to people in isolation, as well as to volunteers in food banks.