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Uncertainty in Quebec as premier expected to announce strict lockdown

January 6, 2021   By Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press

A guideway for the new Montreal REM under construction earlier this year. The construction industry has told the province it wants to keep job sites open through a new lockdown. PHOTO: CDPQ Infra

MONTREAL—Quebec reported 2,641 new COVID-19 infections and 47 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus Jan. 6, hours before the premier is expected to announce a severe lockdown across the province.

Premier Francois Legault is scheduled to hold his first press conference of the new year at 5 p.m., after meeting with opposition leaders on Tuesday.


Update: Quebec to impose provincewide curfew, but construction to remain open

According to multiple reports, the province may, for the first time since the spring, order “non-essential” manufacturers and the construction sector to close and extend the current closure of schools. The premier is also reportedly planning to impose a curfew across the province.

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Quebec’s construction and manufacturing sectors warned on Tuesday that another lockdown similar to what occurred last spring would be devastating for the province’s economy. Last March, the premier closed all industries the government deemed “non-essential” for several weeks, costing the economy billions of dollars.

The province has been under partial lockdown since October, when bars, restaurant dining rooms, gyms and entertainment venues were closed. In December, Legault closed all “non-essential” retail stores and extended the winter break for elementary and high school students.

Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers, said Tuesday it’s frustrating for teachers not to know whether they’ll be teaching in-person or remotely when classes resume Monday.

Quebec has reported more than 2,000 new infections every day since Dec. 20.

On Wednesday, the Health Department said hospitalizations jumped by 76, to 1,393 — the largest number since late May — and 202 people were in intensive care, a rise of eight. Officials said 6,221 doses of vaccine were administered Tuesday, for a total of 38,984.

Quebec has reported 217,999 COVID-19 infections and 8,488 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.


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