Schools, bars and gyms have been closed since 5pm.

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant is forcing Quebec to immediately close bars, gyms, movie theaters and schools. And that may just be the beginning, as further restrictions may be imposed in the coming days.

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“The epidemiological situation is critical, Health Minister Christian Dubé complained on Monday. It is war… We are at war against this variant!”. Quebec has broken infection records in recent days. More than 4,500 Quebecers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

In addition, the “final dances” announced in several bars this weekend did not please the public health authorities. As of Monday night, tenants had to close shop, as well as casinos, concert halls, movie theaters, gyms and spas. Teleworking is again mandatory.

“I know it’s tough on morale, but now is not the time to get discouraged,” the minister said. Our health network is already in a crisis situation, we must remember those who have been at the forefront from the beginning.

Listen to the interview with Dr. Nathalie Grandvaux, professor at UdeM and co-director of the Réseau québécois COVID – Pandémie:

Restaurants will remain open, but opening hours have been relaxed. Restaurant owners are forced to close their establishment at 10pm due to the holiday season.

High school teens and elementary school kids now have school holidays. Only primary schools will remain open until the holidays to continue the distribution of self-tests and the vaccination campaign, said Minister Dubé.

Just like in high school, the youngest doesn’t go back to class until January 10. Teachers will have to teach remotely until this date.

Nurseries and CPEs, however, continue to welcome toddlers.

The only weapon against Omicron is the reduction of contacts and the 3rd dose of the vaccine. Quebec is looking to pick up the pace, but for now, only citizens aged 65, health professionals, educators, caregivers and people with weakened immune systems can make an appointment for a booster dose.

“We need to look for an additional dose of protection that increases protection against the Omicron variant in general from about 30% with the two doses, to 75% with the three doses,” Christian Dubé insisted.

For now, gatherings of ten guests are still allowed for Christmas and New Year celebrations. But it is better to wait before planning the amount of food for family dinners. The government is considering imposing other restrictions in the coming days, depending on contamination forecasts submitted to it by public health experts. “There will be other measures depending on what we will learn (Monday) evening,” said Christian Dubé.

He made no secret of his fear of seeing Quebecers’ adherence to health measures and vaccination declining in context. However, the health minister has not, at this stage, rejected the idea of ​​assigning citizens to their homes with a curfew, as was the case last year to curb the wave.

Hear the reaction of Pierre Thibault, president of the Nouvelle Association des Bars du Québec:

The screening clinics, which have been taken by storm, should be used as a priority by Quebec residents who have symptoms of the disease. Screening centers shouldn’t be a tool to get you tested if you’re asymptomatic and want to get together with our loved ones, stressed Christian Dubé, who admitted Quebec had reached its maximum screening capacity.

Quebec is asking citizens who are positive for COVID-19 to go into isolation and call their contacts themselves, as downtown staff is currently overwhelmed by the surge in traffic.

Monday’s press conference was virtual as the government halted public activities due to the skyrocketing number of cases. And politicians are not spared. After Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge, it was Monday’s turn for Minister of Nature and Nature Pierre Dufour to contract COVID-19. Note that Federal Minister Mélanie Joly also announced that she had tested positive for the disease.

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