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September 16, 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.

Difficulty intervening in homes

The premier of Québec, François Legault, reiterated that the main problem at the moment with the spread of COVID-19 is the contagion transmitted in homes and that it is not easy to intervene in this situation.

Mr. Legault reiterated that we live in a lawful society and the police must have a mandate to enter people’s homes. He explained that the government is in discussions with Public Security and the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales (DPCP) to assess the options. “Nothing is being ruled out at the moment.”

The same applies to anti-mask protests that have occurred repeatedly over the last few weeks, bringing together hundreds and even thousands of people. The premier admits that these protests are disturbing, but that it is not easy to intervene or ban them. For example, he mentioned two people who live together can be in close contact during these protects and that this is completely legal.

However, the government did not exclude finding a way to prevent the protests based on the progression of the pandemic, while proceeding with caution.

Understanding the situation

Mr. Legault stated that Public Health is seeking to understand why the number of people infected is increasing daily, while proportionately the number of hospitalizations and even deaths has not risen.

“I spoke to the premiers of other provinces and they are experiencing the same situation.”

Mr. Legault said experts are pondering the fact that mostly young people are contracting the virus, but there is also some question as to whether the virus has become less virulent.

Fear of a second wave

Québec’s premier is concerned about a second wave that could force the closing of businesses and another lockdown. “I am appealing to solidarity among Quebecers,” he said. “We must avoid festivities among family and friends,” said Mr. Legault, while asking people to respect the limit of 10 people for private gatherings.

Premier Legault wants at all cost to avoid having to close businesses or schools.

“The virus is very dangerous and there’s the risk of deaths, the risk that we will have to close businesses,” said Mr. Legault, as over 300 new cases of COVID-19 have just been recorded.

Alert levels

François Legault explained that the restriction measures that apply to each level (yellow, orange and red) will be applied in the regions on a case-by-case basis, according to where the outbreak occurs and the best way to stop it.

He still hopes that none of Québec’s regions, out of the current eight regions that are under pre-alert, will move into orange this week. He believes that it is possible, if “Quebecers act responsibly” to avoid the ravaging effects of a second wave of the pandemic here.

The alert levels involve reducing the number of people in private and public places as well as the closure of bars, restaurants and business, etc.