Quebec will prohibit holiday gatherings if coronavirus cases ‘increase too much’

Quebec’s premier is defending his plan for December but he is warning that holiday parties could be off the table if the second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic gains steam in the province.

François Legault’s announcement comes as 1,464 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday — the highest number of daily infections to date. The province also recorded 32 additional deaths, including eight in the past day.

“If our numbers increase too much, we won’t allow gatherings,” he said, adding the pandemic must be kept under control.

The four-day period next month where Quebecers are allowed to see one another for a maximum of two gatherings has sparked questions. In return, those who do holiday events are asked to quarantine for a week before and the week after.

Legault says he is comfortable with the plan, but that he understands the guidelines are “not black and white” for everyone. The other option, he said, was to prohibit gatherings altogether during the holiday season when Quebecers are already dealing with restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“We have no magic answer,” Legault said.

READ MORE: Montreal public health says ‘less is more’ for holiday gatherings as COVID-19 crisis continues

Quebec’s caseload stands at 136,894, while recoveries have topped 118,000. The death toll, which is the highest in the country, stands at 6,947.

There are 675 hospitalizations, an increase of 20 from the previous day. Of those patients, 90 are in intensive care, a drop of three.

Health Minister Christian Dubé says there is a spike in cases and hospitalizations across the province.

“We must continue to respect the measures and limit our contacts if we want to slow the spread of the virus,” he wrote on Twitter.

When it comes to screening, 33,023 tests were carried out Tuesday. To date, the province has given more than 3.7 million tests.

With files from the Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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