Quebec is expected to move Montreal and Quebec City into the red zone of its novel coronavirus alert system Monday as cases and outbreaks surge in the province.
Premier François Legault, Health Minister Christian Dubé and Dr. Horacio Arruda, director of Quebec public health, will address the health crisis at 5:30 p.m. in Montreal.
The update comes after Dubé bluntly admitted the alert level could be upgraded to the highest zone for the province’s two largest cities during an interview with Radio-Canada’s Tout le monde en parle on Sunday night.
“We will have to clarify the message because what we say to people will be: stay at home,” Dubé said.
He said the government could make the announcement in the coming days as Quebec deals with the second wave of COVID-19.
Yet Dubé did not outline the exact details of what a red zone alert will entail, other than hinting restrictions could affect bars and restaurants.
“We’re going to make tough decisions. … It’s a very difficult one,” he said. “It was okay to keep the bars open a month, two months ago.”
Over the last week, the government has been urging people to limit socializing and cancel private events, such as dinners and barbecues, in order to stem the tide of the virus. Officials say the recent rise in cases is a result of community transmission.
Quebec reported 896 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the province’s highest single-day tally in months. To date, the province has recorded 71,901 cases and 5,825 deaths.
— With files from the Canadian Press
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