This year, New Years Eve will be celebrated in a very small circle in Quebec. The French-speaking province, which has about 8 million inhabitants, is facing, like the rest of Canada, an epidemic outbreak and on Thursday recorded 14,188 new cases in 24 hours, 9 deaths and 135 additional hospitalizations. As a result, the authorities decided to put in place a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on New Year’s Eve and to restrict gatherings to the family circle only. Violators risk a fine ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 dollars (4,100 euros).
“It is a gesture which is extreme because the situation is extreme”, declared the Prime Minister of Quebec François Legault during a press point, evoking the need to “save hospitals and save lives”. “In just one week the number of Covid cases in hospitals has doubled”, he pointed out, while “the number of absent employees has more than doubled”.
No end date
Quebec, whose health network is battered by a staff shortage, announced this week that health workers who tested positive for Covid-19 and asymptomatic will be able to continue working. Other measures were announced on the sidelines of the curfew: the dining rooms close on Friday and the start of the school year and university has been postponed to January 17.
No end date has been announced for these measures. Last year, a curfew was imposed from January to the end of May in the face of the second wave of coronavirus. It was then a measure unprecedented in Canada on a provincial scale since the Spanish flu epidemic a century ago.