MONTREAL -- The global COVID-19 pandemic began in January with China, Italy, Iran and Korea being hit hardest first. The entire world was soon engulfed in the pandemic that forced the shutdown of institutions, businesses, schools and most of society within months.

Here are some major milestones in the province of Quebec:

February 27 – First Quebec Case

While Canada’s first presumed case of coronavirus was noted Jan. 29 after a man returned to Toronto from Wuhan, China, Quebec’s first presumed COVID-19 case is reported almost a month later when a Montreal-area woman returned to the province from Iran with symptoms.

March 2 – Quarantine units set up

The Jewish General Hospital announces it is one of two designated COVID-19 response hospitals in Montreal.

March 5 – More cases confirmed

A Mont-Laurier man in the Laurentians returns from a trip to India and is treated for COVID-19 symptoms. Hours later, provincial health authorities confirm a third case. The province notes that 20 people are under investigation and 242 have been cleared.

March 9 – Screening clinics open

After a fourth case is confirmed, Quebec opens three screening clinics in the province.

The English Montreal School Board begins asking students who travelled to countries including Italy over March break to stay home and call Info-Sante before returning to school.

The STM increases cleaning protocols on its buses and metros.

March 10 – Flight cancellations begin, COVID-19 enters public transit

Air Canada cancels flights between Canada and Italy, and Quebec now has seven confirmed cases, all people who had travelled outside of Canada.

Montreal’s public-health officials confirm that a person with COVID-19 had taken public transit before testing positive.

March 11 – COVID-19 is a pandemic

The World Health Organization declares the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, Quebec numbers hit double digits, and Quebec minister of Health Danielle McCann advises Quebecers to avoid taking cruises. World Figure Skating Championships is cancelled. NBA season is suspended.

March 12 – Large events cancelled, seasons suspended, schools close, isolation grows

Quebec Premier Francois Legault asks all who travelled abroad to self-isolate for two weeks, and organizers of indoor events attracting more than 250 people to cancel them unless they are considered essential.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau self-isolates after his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau tests positive after returning from the U.K.

The NHL joins other sports leagues and postpones its season, and Montreal’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is postponed.

College International Marie de France in Cote-des-Nieges is the first school to close classes after a student is suspected of contracting the coronavirus.

March 13 – Shutdown begins

Quebec closes daycares, public schools, CEGEPs and universities for 14 days, and a new toll-free COVID-19 specific number is set up: 877-644-4545.

More flights are cancelled; cruise season put on hold; VIA Rail cancels Montreal-Halifax and Toronto-Vancouver routes; and officials start asking Canadians to limit non-essential travel.


March 14 – Public health emergency declared, seniors asked to stay home

Legault asks Quebecers over 70 to stay home to prevent spread, and hospital and seniors’ residences close to visitors, as he declares the coronavirus a public health emergency.

First child tests positive for COVID-19.

Francois Legault

March 15 – “It’s time to act.”

Legault closes bars, sugar shacks, pools and other public gathering places, while restaurants are asked to operate at 50 per cent capacity.

“It’s not time to panic,” said Quebec Public Health head Horacio Arruda. “It’s time to act.”

March 16 – Borders closed

Trudeau closes the border to all but the U,S. International flights restricted to four airports, including Montreal’s.

Quebec confirmed cases hit 50.

March 17 – Rise in racism towards Asian-Montrealers

The Koran consulate in Montreal urges Montrealers of Korean heritage to be cautious after a Korean man was stabbed, and many Asian Montrealers commented on a rise in racist taunts and tension.

March 18 – First COVID-19-related death recorded

Mariette Tremblay, an 82-year-old woman in the Lanaudiere region dies due to coronavirus, as confirmed cases hit 94.

Mariette Tremblay

Quebec City opens the first drive-thru screening clinic for COVID-19 at the Chauveau Hospital. The first drive-thru clinic in Montreal opened four days later at the Place des Festivals and was the first that did not require an appointment. Thousands were tested within days of it opening.

Border closes to non-essential travel, and aid packages begin for businesses attempting to weather the crisis.

March 19 – Quebec cases pass 100

The number of COVID-19 cases hits 121, and Legault asks Quebecers to stay in their regions.

Funeral services are postponed and moved online.

March 20 – Woman arrested for leaving isolation

A woman in Quebec City was arrested for leaving her home after testing positive for COVID-19. She was not charged, but more enforcement of COVID-19 protocols would occur.

March 21 – Gatherings banned, new deaths

Quebec Premier Legault announces that all indoor and outdoor gatherings are banned.

Four more deaths are recorded for a total of five with only one death not occurring in the Eva seniors’ residence in Lavaltrie.

The number of cases is at 181.

COVID-19 measures in Quebec

An Air Canada plane brings back 433 people who were stranded in Morocco.

March 22 – No more dining out

Dining rooms at restaurants are ordered closed, as well as salons and beauty parlours. Shopping malls are also closed, but pharmacies and grocery stores with exterior entrances are allowed to remain open.

Place-des-Festivals drive-thru screening clinic opens.

Singer Martha Wainwright teams up with Pop Montreal for a sing-along to Leonard Cohen’s “So Long, Marianne” from her balcony.

Legault announces that the number of COVID-19 cases is at 1,013 with 439 in Montreal.

March 25 – First death in Montreal

The City of Montreal records its first death due to COVID-19 as cases in the metropolis rise to 603. It is the second death recorded that day with the total number of Quebec COVID-19 cases reaching 1,339.

The federal government is ordering all people returning to Canada from outside the country to isolate.

March 27 – Montreal declares state of emergency

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante declares a state of emergency to help the city’s homeless population, who are having a harder time finding space in the city’s shelters.

valerie plante

Ten deaths are recorded in one day bringing the total to 28.

March 28 – Checkpoints installed

Quebec Deputy Premier Genevieve Guibault announces police would man checkpoints throughout the province to stop the virus from spreading.

Genevieve Guilbault

March 29 – No fatalities

Though the numbers continue to rise with confirmed cases at 2,840, there are no fatalities to report and the percentage of new cases has gone down.

The Tosh Jewish community in Boisbriand asks for help enforcing a quarantine on its 4,000 members.

March 31 – Montreal is the hot spot

Montreal’s 1,991 cases make up nearly a quarter of the country’s cases (8,505).

The city sets up more outdoor day shelters for homeless people.

Police break up small gathering at the residence of Montreal opposition leader Lionel Perez, who was celebrating his daughter’s engagement.

April 1 – Gatherings continue alarming leaders

The premier and mayor of Montreal note that people continue to gather in parks with the weather improving. Quebec now has 4,611 confirmed cases and the death toll is at 31.

April 2 – Crackdown of gatherings

With more people taking advantage of the warm weather to head outdoors in groups, Legault orders the police to begin cracking down.

Parking lots closed after crowds gather

Police begin handing out tickets that range from $1,000 to $6,000 for those not following physical distancing guidelines.

Jacques-Cartier Bridge lit up in rainbow colours as a beacon of hope. 

Jacques Cartier Bridge during the pandemic

April 3 – Huge jump in the numbers

The number of deaths rises to 61, an increase of 27. It is the highest one-day increase, The province now has over 6,100 cases, and its first death of a person under 40. Quebec Head of Public Health Horacio Arruda says the man was significantly overweight.

Just For Laughs, JazzFest, FrancoFolies and others cancel summer events.

Horacio Arruda, Quebec director of National Public

April 6 – Deaths from COVID-19 pass 100

Premier Legault says there’s “light at the end of the tunnel” though the confirmed death total rises to 121.

Legault announces $100 million for small businesses to train employees to work remotely.

April 8 – Quebec passes 10,000 cases

In his daily briefing, Legault confirms that there are 10,031 positive cases of COVID-19 in the province. The number of deaths is now at 175.

A security guard is hit by a car driven by a customer originally thought to be irate at the one-person-per-car rule at the Walmart in Sherbrooke. Later security camera footage conflicts with the initial reporting.

April 10 – Troubling reports from seniors’ homes

Quebec announces it will test all long-term care facility staff and that the health network will redeploy hundreds of doctors and nurses from hospitals to seniors’ residences to deal with the major amount of outbreaks.

The global death toll is now over 100,000.

April 11 – 31 deaths reported in one care facility

A body is removed from Maison Herron

Premier Legault announces that 31 seniors have died at the Maison Herron long-term care facility in Dorval. He is opening a police and public-health investigation.

April 12 - Cases pass 300, coroner investigating Herron deaths

The Quebec Coroner's office is investigating the 31 deaths at the Maison Herron long-term care facility in Dorval. 

There are 328 people who have died of COVID-19, and the number of cases is close to 13,000.

April 14 - Huge spike in cases, history between goverment and Maison Herron revealed

A lengthy war of words is revealed between Maison Herron management and the health services of Montreal's West Island.

The biggest spike in deaths is noted with 75 bringing the total to 691. There are 14,248 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

April 16 - First healthcare worker dies of COVID-19

Huy Hao Dao, 25 was working as a COVID-19 researcher and investigator, and is the first docter in Quebec known to have died of COVID-19.

The Grace Dart Extended Care Centre is hit hard as 38 residents test positive for the virus. A day later, 62 people have tested positive including 13 staff members.

April 17 - Canadian Army called to help at long-term care facilities

Trudeau confirms that approximately 125 members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have training in the health field will lend a hand in Quebec’s hard-hit long-term care facilities (CSHLDs).

Montreal announces a mobile medical clinic will begin patrolling downtown to care for the city's most vulnerable population.

COVID-19's death toll in Quebec is 688 with the total cases at 688.

April 20 - Canadian Armed Forces deployed to help in care homes

To help at the province's extended-care homes where the infection rate is around 75 per cent, 90 Canadian Armed Forces personnel are deployed in the Montreal region.

Military aid arrives in Montreal

April 21 - Quebec passes 1,000 deaths and 20,0000 cases

Legault announces that 1,041 people have died of COVID-19 and the total number of cases in the province is 20,126. 4,048 people have recovered from the virus.

More than 100 inmates and 90 employees test positive for COVID-19 in federal prisons in the province, according to Correctional Services Canada.

April 23 - Patients group files complaint regarding long-term care centres

A Quebec council responsible for protecting patients filed a complaint with the province’s Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission alleging discrimination and exploitation of the elderly at CHSLDs since the beginning of the crisis.

Quebec's confirmed cases reaches 21,838 with 1,243 deaths. Quebec is home to 57 per cent of deaths in the country.

April 24 - Virtual parliamentary session held in Quebec

For the first time in the province's history, a parliamentary session was held virtually with the economy and labour committee meeting to hear from the ministers. Three more virtual sessions are scheduled.

April 26 - COVID-19 deaths pass 1,500 in Quebec

Though the province records the lowest number of deaths in weeks, the total of people who have died reaches 1,515. The total number of confirmed cases is 24,107. Montreal is the hardest hit area with 11,621 confirmed cases.

The ministry of health is now recommending face coverings in public places.

The Centre anti-poison du Quebec (CAPQ) reports that there was a 31 per cent increase in cleaning product exposure in March from 2019

April 27 - Quebec announces plan to gradually reopen daycares and elementary schools

Premier Legault and education minister Jean-Francois Roberge announce that Quebec elementary schools and daycares will begin reopening May 11. There are now 24,982 confirmed cases in Quebec and 1,599 people have died.

April 28 - Quebec announces plan to gradually restart the economy

Legault says construction, retail and manufacturing industries will be reopened in May with restrictions. COVID-19 infections pass 25,000 with 25,757 confirmed cases and 1,682 dead.

Bombardier recalls 11,000 workers in preparation for a resumption of work.

CHSLD Jeffery Hale in Quebec City reported to be the worst in the region with 27 deaths at the facility.

April 30 - Former Hab George Laraque diagnosed with COVID-19

Former Montreal Canadien Georges Laraque is diagnosed with COVID-19, and records a series of videos of his recovery in hospital.

Georges Laraque

May 1 - Death toll passes 2,000 in Quebec

Quebec health authorities report that 2,022 have died of COVID-19, and the province now has 28,648 confirmed cases. New testing centre opens in Montreal North, a major hotspot.

Education minister Roberge nixes suggestion of half days when schools reopen.

The first of several cell towers is set on fire in Laval with conspiracy theories circulating that 5G technology may be connected to the spread of COVID-19.

May 3 - As cases pass 30,000 in Quebec, Montreal begins closing parking lots and parks

Parking lots at La Fontaine, Maisonneuve, Jarry, Frederic-Back and Ile-de-la-Visitation Parks are closed in Montreal, which extends its state of emergency. Montreal accounts for 14,599 of the provinces 31,865 cases of the virus, and 1,312 people have died.

Distribution of 20,000 masks and 500 protective visors begins in Montreal North.

May 4 - Construction permit counters reopen

As businesses begin preparing to reopen, permit counters across Montreal partially reopen by appointment.

Of the 75 new COVID-19 deaths reported, 72 have died in the province's long-term care centres. Quebec now has 32,623 confirmed cases, 16,606 of which are in Montreal.

May 6 - Montreal deaths pass 1,500, cases top 17,000

Montreal public health officials report an increase of 450 new COVID-19 cases and 74 more deaths in the city. There have now been 17,442 cases of COVID-19 in Montreal and 1,562 people have died from it.

First daycare in Quebec reports a COVID-19 outbreak in Mascouche, north of Montreal. Twelve out of 27 children at the centre have contracted the virus and four employees.

May 9 - Report says COVID-19 deaths could spike post-deconfinement

Quebec's public health institute releases a report that says deaths could spike in the greater Montreal area if physical distancing measures are lifted. The projections show deaths as potentially rising to 150 per day by July.

The CHSLD Vigi in DDO announce that 64 people have died at the residence since the pandemic began.

Universite de Montreal the first school to announce fall courses will be mostly online.

May 10 - Outbreak at Cargill meat processing plant 

An outbreak of COVID-19 at the Les Aliments Cargill meat processing plant in Chambly causes the temporary closure of the Monteregie plant after 64 workers are diagnosed with COVID-19. The outbreak follows one at an Alberta Cargill plant that closed operations there.

May 11 - Quebec schools reopen, number of deaths passes 3,000

Quebec schoolchildren outside of Montreal returned to classes met with hand sanitizer and instructions to keep apart from one another. Construction workers return to job sites.

Legault said reopening of Montreal stores and schools could be postponed as number of deaths reaches 3,013. Of the 86 new deaths, 82 were in Montreal. There are now 38,469 people in the province who have contracted the virus.

The American Hockey League cancels the rest of its season and playoffs.

May 12 - Premier "strongly recommends" Quebecers wear masks

For the first time in two months of near-daily COVID-19 press briefings, Legault and his health officials meet reporters wearing face masks. Legault says he "strongly recommends" Quebecers wear face masks when in public.

Francois Legault

The SAQ announces that online alcohol sales have exploded by around 200 per cent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 14 - Montreal students' school year cancelled, confirmed cases pass 40,000 in Quebec

Legault makes his first trip to Montreal since the crisis began and announces elementary school students on the island will not return to classes until the fall.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Quebec is now 40,724 and 3,351 have died.

Mobile COVID-19 screening clinic rolls into Montreal North.

May 15 - Air Canada will cut its workforce in half, lowest numbers since mid-April

According to an internal memo, over half of Air Canada's workforce will be subject to layoffs.

With 50 people having died in the past day, Legault announces the lowest daily total since mid-April, and with 696 new infections, the numbers seem to be lowering.

The total number of deaths is now 3,401 with 41,420 people infected.

May 17 - Native Women's Shelter of Montreal closes


The residents at the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal move to a hotel, as multiple staff members contracted COVID-19 leaving the shelter with a skeleton staff. The shelter is closed for the first time so it could be cleaned thoroughly while the residents remain in isolation.

May 19 - Lowest number of new cases since April 11 recorded

Public health authorities report 570 new cases of COVID-19 in Quebec bringing the total number of cases to 44,197. Of those, 3,647 have died of the virus.

Nurses protest in Quebec City over working conditions.

Montreal Pride Festival organizers announce that an adapted version of events will take place in August despite summer cancellations.

May 20 - Bigger gatherings permitted, provincial parks begin reopening, other restrictions lifted

Quebec authorities announce gatherings are now permitted with a maximum of 10 people from three households.

Quebec announces that hair salons and other perssonal grooming services will open as of June 1 outside Montreal and Joliette.

There are now 44,775 cases in the province with 3,718 deaths.

After being closed for several weeks, some of Quebec’s provincial parks begin to reopen.

May 21 - Kanesatake opposes Oka Park reopening

Mohawk Council of Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon organizes a checkpoint blocking access to Oka Park fearing Montreal residents will bring COVID-19 to the area. 

Golf, tennis and other individual sports return.

May 22 - Libraries, museums and drive-in theatres reopening schedule announced

The Quebec government says libraries, museums and drive-in theatres across the province can reopen May 29, and recording studios can reopen June 1.

3,865 people have now died of the virus, and the total number of cases in the province is 46,141.

New rules at Montreal parks implemented.