Quebec to go back to region-by-region restrictions, with Montreal likely among strictest: premier
MONTREAL -- Quebec Premier François Legault said he "hopes" to announce a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions next week -- in some regions, but likely not in Montreal.
Quebec's current 8 p.m. curfew was slated to end on Feb. 8, and Legault and health authorities said, at a press conference Tuesday, they plan to hold an announcement before then.
"We're giving ourselves another week before another announcement," said Legault.
But he can already say it won't be a blanket announcement covering the whole province.
"It has to be said there are still active cases in every region of Quebec, without exceptions," Legault said.
In Montreal, which currently has 1,040 people hospitalized with COVID-19, "significant measures are still going to be present," he said.
Health Minister Christian Dubé asked people to "be patient" in waiting to hear which regions are heading towards a loosening, and said that the province is publishing new information, including stats on surgery postponements, meant to help give people a glimpse into what metrics authorities are following.
QUEBEC LOOKS AT QUARANTINING TRAVELLERS FROM OTHER PROVINCES
Legault also repeated a message from last week, urging the federal government to act very quickly to tighten international border restrictions, saying Quebec has been lucky so far in avoiding the same kind of outbreaks cased by the virus variants that Ontario has recently seen.
"From one day to the next it could explode," Legault said, adding that there's the same sense of urgency as in last March, when Quebec needed the borders shut down immediately to prevent a spiraling of numbers.
Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that an announcement is coming "very soon" about new border restrictions.
Also on Tuesday, Manitoba announced it will impose a two-week quarantine on people arriving from other provinces, a measure that has mostly not been imposed yet in Canada, except for in the Atlantic provinces.
Arruda said Quebec is discussing this idea, too, saying it could be an important way of limiting the province's exposure to the variants.
"It's something that must be discussed... especially in the context of the new strains," he said.
"Toronto, with some cases, could be a risk if people come here, especially not for [essential] travel," he said. "So we are looking at those kinds of situations."