Quebec, Canada is heading into an 18-day lockdown aiming at breaking the second wave of Covid-19 as a precaution. All non-essential businesses except grocery stores, pharmacies, garages, and pet stores will be closed across the province from December 25th till January 11th. This was announced in a press conference on Tuesday by Premier Francois Legault. The holiday break will also have the province’s elementary schools have their holiday break also to be extended to January 2021. Earlier the elementary schools were supposed to re-open on January 4th. High schools also will have an extended holiday break between December 17 to January 11.
Quebec’s Covid-19 Precautions
Legault mentioned that the children could include remote learning and homework during the extended break. However the province’s daycare will remain open, but Legault had a message to parents who can keep their children home to do so. Almost all office workers both public and private are required to work from home strictly from December 17 until January 11th. Most of the places will be re-classified as red zones, while the only exceptions will be Abitibi-Temiscamingue, Nord-du-Québec, the North Shore, Grosse-île, and Gilles-de-la-Madeleine, Nunavik, and Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie James which will be classified as orange.
He confirmed 959 people were currently hospitalized with Covid-19 in Quebec, he said the province’s overloaded and the healthcare system with its workers desperately need the numbers to come down. “ That’s very difficult, it puts a lot of pressure on hospitals,” he said. He added that there are families with small children who might want to buy presents and hence the shops were given the next 10 days to continue functioning before the lockdown begins. Legault also said the shops may do a door front pickup option rather than letting the customers inside. Public Health director Horacio Arruda stressed that the definition of essential goods will be limited to items such as food and pharmacies.
Quebec enters a Home Stretch: Says Legault
Legault said in the conference that with the first set of coronavirus vaccines being administered, the province entered “the home stretch,” another 900 doses of the vaccines were administered on Tuesday. “We believe it’s a plan that gives us every possible chance to help healthcare workers who have had a very difficult 10 months. It gives us every chance to break the second wave by Jan 11 so we can start to really re-open, and it will allow us not to overload our hospitals,” he said.
A professor at McGill University’s department of microbiology and immunology said on Monday that this lockdown which includes at least 4 weeks is really required including schools. “ The lockdown needs to target the thing that we know is important and I think the time has passed, unfortunately, for half measures. We know that schools were the earliest part of the transmission and are still responsible for up to 30% of outbreaks,” he added.