Quebec to impose 'electroshock' curfew for 4 weeks, starting Saturday

Quebec to impose 8 p.m. provincewide curfew until Feb. 8

Legault told reporters Wednesday he wanted to give Quebecers an "electroshock" regarding the critical situation in the province's hospitals, which he said are overburdened with COVID-19 patients who are mostly over the age of 65.

"Once again, we're asking a lot of Quebecers", she said in an interview Thursday. "We don't have enough doses".

The province says it administered 6,221 doses of vaccine Tuesday, for a total of 38,984.

In imposing the curfew, to run from January 9 to February 9, Legault also extended the current limitations on all regions of the province, with the exception of the far north.

All restaurants and bars, gyms, casinos, museums and cinemas in Quebec will be closed from Saturday.

High schools will continue with online learning for one additional week, returning Jan.18, and students will be required to wear masks at all times.

Kenney noted that between September and the Christmas break, only 0.4 per cent of students and staff tested positive for COVID-19 and case numbers have dropped among all school-aged groups in December.

Questioned about the reasons for the curfew, Legault explained the limitation is meant to protect seniors, who can be infected at family gatherings, in particular by younger family members who participate in illegal night-time parties.

Quebec's health-care system is under heavy strain, Health Minister Christian Dube said, adding that some kidney transplants have been cancelled. There are now 1,393 people with COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals, including 202 in intensive care.

Legault and Public Health Director Horacio Arruda both said that this move was to curb visits in homes.

Non-essential services in Quebec have been shut down since December 25.

As the province enters a new, intense period of lockdown, Quebec schools are getting new rules too. Stores will be able to sell goods at the curbside.

Grocery stores and depanneurs must close at 7:30 p.m. but pharmacies and gas stations can remain open overnight.

Under the curfew, people in the province have to be in their homes by 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. or risk a fine of up to 6,000 Canadian dollars. He said Legault needed to clearly justify why a curfew is needed to significantly reduce transmission.

Individual sports, such as skiing and skating, will be allowed.

It was reported before Legault's announcement that Quebec would repeat its full spring lockdown, shutting down construction and most manufacturing as well.

That would avoid the need for a full lockdown that could be "catastrophic" for Quebec's economy, he said.

That's why Quebec is trying something more drastic.

He said the impact of cancelled procedures is already being felt: breast cancer patients are presenting with larger tumours than they were before the pandemic, a sign that they're being diagnosed late.

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