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October 16, 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.

Cutting out one contact per day

The restrictions that were imposed two weeks ago to stop the spread of COVID-19 have had the anticipated effect, but are still not enough to reduce the current number of cases and deaths. Quebecers are therefore being asked to reduce their daily social contacts a little more.

The minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, first applauded the results demonstrated by studies conducted by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ), confirming that the measures imposed on October 1 have had a major impact on slowing down the speed of contagion.

But Mr. Dubé also stressed that while there has been a significant flattening of the curb of contagion, hospitalizations and deaths could continue to rise. “The measures are working, but things are still fragile,” he said.

“Before the pandemic, every Quebecer had seven to eight social contacts per day. During the isolation measures in the spring, the average number was three. Now, we’re at five or six. One of these contacts must be cut out each day,” he said.

Approaching normality

Minister Dubé reiterated the warning from Premier François Legault yesterday that the current efforts to reduce social contacts and contagion will have to continue beyond October 28, the initial date set to reach a decrease in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

He stated that he hopes that one of the first restrictions to be lifted will be sports, particularly among youth.

A more damaging second wave

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that the second wave of the pandemic has “the potential to hit the population very hard,” and that at the moment, the number of Canadians infected by the virus “is still too high.”

The pandemic is not only a health crisis, it is also an economic crisis. Businesses that were starting to recover after the first wave are at risk of experiencing even greater difficulties during the second wave of contagion.

Mr. Trudeau called on Canadians to remain “serious in the fight against a pandemic that is still very real.”

National health standards for seniors

Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated the importance of establishing Canadian standards to provide a framework for the provision of care to seniors.

He suggested that the tragedies that occurred in the spring could still be repeated. However, he said that he is confident that the provinces are discussing their shared experiences in an effort to apply the best possible measures.

Even though health is a provincial jurisdiction, Mr. Trudeau stated: “When we’re talking about people’s lives, there is no such thing as jurisdiction.”