MONTREAL -- The Quebec government says it will be handing out rapid COVID-19 screening tests to parents with children in daycare, starting Monday.

The tests will be given to all daycares, subsidized or not, to be distributed to parents of children over the age of one who display symptoms of the virus.

The rapid tests can be used by parents at home.

The hope, according to the Health Ministry, is to prevent the number of cases and outbreaks among children.

"Parents will be able to receive these tests and perform them at home for their children over the age of one," the ministry explains. "It is important to note that these tests are intended primarily for children, given that they are not vaccinated."

The government says this is part of its latest strategy to "bring more autonomy in the way Quebecers are screened."

"In addition, it will simplify the daily life of parents as the holiday season approaches," it notes. "This strategy also responds to a request from daycare services, who have been informed of this measure."

Officials say if a child tests positive using a rapid home screening test, they must then be taken to a designated testing centre to have the diagnosis confirmed by a laboratory test; other family members must also be tested.

"This group is a priority since no vaccine has been approved to date for children under the age of five," the Health Ministry states. "Each kit includes five rapid tests, as well as the materials and instructions for performing them."

The ministry is advising the management of child care centres to visit the Rapid Testing in Child Care page to find out how to place their orders, as it can vary by region.

Daycare workers are not allowed to conduct the tests, even with a parent's permission, it adds.

Quebec says it has a limited number of rapid tests and has already requested more from the federal government.