Canada's Quebec expected to announce new restrictions as coronavirus cases rise

Thursday, 01 Oct, 2020

Quebec, the Canadian province hit hardest by the novel coronavirus, will curb social gatherings in homes and limit bar and restaurant service to takeout for 28 days in Montreal and two other regions, Premier Francois Legault said.

Quebecers are called upon not to receive guests at their homes.

The province hardest hit by the epidemic, especially in its retirement homes during the first wave, has entered "in the second wave", had warned last week, the national director of public health.

Some 217 patients in the province are now hospitalized with the coronavirus, an increase of 18; 12 more people entered intensive care, raising the total to 45.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pleaded with the public to respect public health guidelines, as Canada's top doctor said the country is "at a crossroads" when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quebec has recorded 698 new cases of COVID-19 - the highest single-day count since May 21 - bringing the province's total to 71,005 as of Saturday.

Aside from the 750 new COVID-19 cases reported Monday, health authorities reported one additional death linked to the virus.

For 28 days, restaurants, bars, and casinos will be closed to the public.

People who meet outdoors must keep a two-metre distance between them, and people who attend protest marches must wear masks, he said.

But the province's public security department is looking into new ways of making sure people are respecting the measures that apply to households, he said. Shops can remain open.

"This situation has become critical", Legault said.

"It's a question of balance", he added.

Measures like these are not put in place "for fun", he stressed. "I understand that these measures are challenging [and] none of this makes people happy, but we wouldn't do this if it wasn't to help save lives".

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal voiced similar concerns.

Leblanc urged to government to act swiftly to provide financial assistance to affected businesses.

This 2020 electron microscope made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention image shows the spherical coronavirus particles from the first U.S. case of COVID-19. Although the number of hospitalizations in the region remains low at three (with no one in intensive care, ) Poirier noted that there is a noticeable upward trend across all regions of Quebec at the moment.