Canadian Province of Quebec Announces Curfew, Closures Amid Omicron Surge

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by Kim McRaeley

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Canada’s Quebec province on Thursday announced new restrictions in an effort to counter a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases linked to the more transmissible Omicron variant.

Officials in Quebec said they would impose an overnight curfew for most residents to stay in their homes between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. starting Friday. Officials said the province is also closing restaurant dining rooms, and pushing back the timeline for schools to reopen to January 17. Bars, casinos and cinemas were ordered to close earlier in December.

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“We are in a situation which is the worst in 22 months of the pandemic,” said Premier François Legault. The daily number of new Covid-19 cases being reported in Quebec, which is at a record low, underestimates the true spread of the disease and there is a risk that the province’s hospitals could be overwhelmed, he said.

Other jurisdictions, including several US states, have taken a less restrictive approach to the Omicron surge in recent weeks, saying they are better equipped to deal with a surge in Covid-19 cases now that many people have been vaccinated. . Officials also want to avoid the economic loss that the previous lockdown has caused.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, said on Thursday that schools could reopen on January 5 and spectator events could continue at reduced capacity. However, the province said Ontario’s testing capacity is so expanded that publicly funded polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests for COVID-19 will be limited to specific categories of individuals, such as symptomatic health workers and those at risk of serious illness. People who

According to the government, Canada has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with more than 76% of its population considered fully vaccinated. However, the rollout of its booster doses has been slower than some of its developed-world counterparts, including the United Kingdom and Germany.

Write to Kim McCrael at [email protected]

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