Masks soon mandatory on public transit, Quebec public health director suggests

At this point in the coronavirus pandemic, the “worst danger” that awaits Quebec is forgetfulness, said national director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, hinting that masks will soon be mandatory in public transit.

At a press conference in Quebec City on Monday afternoon, Arruda once again decried a relaxation in compliance with health regulations, such as physical distancing and wearing a face covering.

“It is important not to forget that this virus still exists,” he said, reiterating that he expects a second wave of contagion, or at least “ripples.”

“We all have a responsibility to prepare.”

To do this, the mandatory wearing of masks while using public transit is a measure “very, very strongly evaluated today.”

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“I invite you to listen to the press briefings for the next few days to see what is going on,” he said.

On Tuesday, Quebec Premier François Legault, Arruda and newly appointed Health Minister Christian Dubé will be holding a press conference in Quebec City, where there is suspicion the new measure will be announced.

Also joining the briefing will be Chantal Rouleau, the minister responsible for the Montreal region and the metropolis, and Dr. Mylène Drouin, the regional director of public health for Montreal.

While on his regional tour, Arruda met with the health authorities of Capitale-Nationale on Monday. He praised their “very agile” organizational model, which, according to him, will get back on track at the slightest sign of resurgence of the virus.

“I want to recognize the exemplary work of the public health teams. I ask them to take a breath and a short vacation to be ready to attack again, if necessary, in the coming weeks or months.”

Read more: Quebec backtracks and reinstates daily coronavirus updates

The regional director of public health, Dr. François Desbiens, echoed his colleague by warning the population against the present “summer lull.”

“If we lower our guard, the virus only awaits opportunities for transmission,” he said.

Desbiens, who will be leaving office soon, stressed that the Capitale-Nationale region, which represents 10 per cent of the province’s population, recorded only three per cent of deaths related to COVID-19 in Quebec.

— With files from Global’s Brittany Henriques

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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