Dubé wary of easing COVID-19 restrictions by Christmas

“We have to be careful, and I’m not just talking about the new variant.”

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QUEBEC – Health Minister Christian Dubé sounds much less optimistic than Prime Minister François Legault that it will be possible to ease COVID-19 restrictions in time for Christmas gatherings.


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Revealing that Quebec registered 1,200 new cases on Wednesday, the highest number in more than seven months, and a net increase in hospitalizations, Dubé said things are still under control, but there are red flags in the field.

He warned that citizens will have to keep their guard if Quebec is to have a pleasant holiday season.

“1200 cases … I do not like that, because it is a significant increase,” Dubé told reporters. “We have to be careful, and I’m not just talking about the new variant. We also have to follow sanitary measures.

“I want us to get to Christmas with as few cases as possible. The number of hospitalizations has increased by 10 per day during the last three days. So we must be cautious for the next few weeks. “


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The last time Quebec reached 1,200 cases was on April 12, near the end of the third wave of the pandemic.

Dubé noted that there is still work to be done. There are 650,000 Quebecers who have not yet been vaccinated. Quebec hasn’t finished vaccinating children ages five to 11 or giving booster shots to all older adults.

Dubé said Quebec expected the number of new daily cases to rise to 1,200.

“So there is no panic about that, but we want to make sure they stay there, and that is why we ask people to follow the measures,” he said.

Dubé’s caution contrasted with that of Legault, who this week said he hoped some restrictions could be eased in time for Christmas. He specifically mentioned the limit of 10 people per family gathering.

He said he would like to see the limit increased to 20 or 25 if possible, but would follow public health guidance.


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Dubé wouldn’t say whether he thinks Legault spoke too soon.

But he said, like all Quebecers, Legault wants a good Christmas.

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