Legault on social ­distancing: It’s time to wake up

By Matthew McCully

During Thursday’s COVID-19 briefing, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said that while most Quebecers are following social distancing directives and staying home as much as possible, the severity of the situation is just not sinking in for some people. Legault sent out a message to Sûreté du Québec and police forces across the province telling them to ‘be less tolerant’ with people still gathering together and non-essential businesses still operating.
“Some people are not taking this seriously,” Legault said, adding it was unacceptable that the sacrifices made by the majority of Quebecers were being undone by people refusing to stay home. “Lives are at risk,” the premier said.
Fines for disobeying social distancing directives can range from $1,000 to $6,000 per individual.
Around 7,000 calls were made to ­police stations the day before about people not respecting the guidelines, Legault said. Quebec’s total of COVID-19 cases as of yesterday was 5,518, up 907 from the day before. Of those, 404 are in the Estrie region. There were three new deaths related to the disease, bringing the total to 36. There are 365 hospitalizations in Quebec, up 58 from the day before and 96 people in intensive care, an increase of 14.
Legault said the health network is ready, adding there are enough ventilators to meet the projected needs in the province at the peak of infection. As for personal protective equipment, Legault said more is on the way daily, and inventory is steady at around a week’s worth. When pressed for details about supplies, Legault pointed out that the province uses hundreds of thousands of masks and millions of gloves daily. Without getting into specifics, Legault said he appreciates everything coming in from donations, and added there is a procurement committee sourcing gloves, gowns and masks from a variety of suppliers internationally. Orders are in the millions, he said.

Published in the Friday, April 3 edition of The Record.

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