Quebec locks down further, fearing a collapse of its hospitals

“We are in a race against time,” mentioned Premier Francois Legault, including that Quebec is up to now shedding the race.

A 8 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew will go into impact on Saturday. Restaurants, gyms, theaters and most retail shops will stay closed for at the very least 4 weeks. Legault calls it “shock therapy” that he hopes won’t must be prolonged.

Elementary faculties will reopen as deliberate subsequent week, however extra college students might be required to put on masks. High faculties will reopen January 18.

All Quebecers are being urged to remain dwelling and journey solely whether it is completely crucial. Those who fail to conform may face fines within the hundreds of {dollars}.

“We’re talking here about saving lives and we’re talking about saving our health care system,” mentioned Legault.

For weeks, many well being care professionals have been lobbying the Quebec authorities to lock down additional, after warning its hospital system was buckling.

“None of us wants another hard lockdown, but we’re really in a very precarious situation at the moment,” mentioned Dr. Marina Klein, research director and infectious illness specialist on the McGill University Health Centre, in an interview with CNN.

For months, Quebec has seen a regular rise in new circumstances, hospitalizations and coronavirus deaths.

Data from Quebec’s well being ministry reveals about 1,400 individuals are at the moment hospitalized with Covid-19, second solely to the province of Ontario, with 76 new hospitalizations reported on Tuesday alone.

A Quebec well being advisory group warned in December that Quebec may exhaust hospital capability by the tip of January if hospitalizations proceed to extend.

Klein says the partial restrictions which have been in place in Quebec since fall have been ineffective in opposition to the unfold of the virus.

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“It’s like a slow torture that we’ve been under, as opposed to the alternative solution, to do something that’s very hard, very difficult for a short period of time which is likely to be much more effective,” says Klein. She mentioned well being care employees are exhausted and morale is low, as many have been uncovered to the virus or are already contaminated.

Canada has been dealing with a cussed second wave of the virus, which is now rising extra severe by the day, in line with public well being officers.

“Covid-19 is spreading among people of all ages, with high infection rates across all age groups. However, nationally, infection rates remain highest among those aged 80 years and older who are at highest risk for severe outcomes,” warned Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public well being officer, in a assertion launched Wednesday.

“The downstream impacts of weeks and months of elevated disease activity continues to be seen in still rising numbers of severe illness and death…”

Ontario, dwelling to 2 in 5 Canadians, is also coping with a surge in hospitalizations regardless of having imposed its personal province-wide lockdown December 26. Ontario’s authorities says it’s watching Quebec fastidiously and contemplating more durable measures.

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“I always say everything is on the table but let’s see where the numbers go,” mentioned Doug Ford, Ontario’s premier, throughout a press briefing on Tuesday.

Legault says companies and faculties aren’t a main supply of unfold. Instead, personal, social gatherings inside houses have led to the disaster. He mentioned a circuit breaker kind lockdown was now crucial.

“My concern at this moment is that we’re facing a potential introduction of an even more transmissible strain, that’s the one that’s being seen right now in the UK and if that were to take hold in an already out of control epidemic that we have, we’re talking about a situation that we’ve never seen,” mentioned Dr. Klein.

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