MONTREAL -- Quebec's ministry of health has ordered all medical professionals in the province to not travel abroad for professional reasons until Aug. 31 in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The edict covers all health professionals in Quebec, including interns who come into contact with patients, and bars work travel for any reason, including attending conferences, being part of travelling health delegations or doing internships outside Canada.

The directives were laid out in a letter to health professionals from Quebec's junior minister of health and social services Lucie Opatrny.

The edict does not ban personal travel for health professionals but urges those who do travel outside the country to be prudent and warned that a medical quarantine could await travellers upon their return, even if they are visiting countries that are not currently considered a high risk for the novel coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Quebec health authorities reported that there have been nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province so far; all infected patients had recently returned to Quebec from abroad.

Another government update is expected Thursday.