Seventy is the new 60, Quebec says

By Matthew McCully

While last week people 60 years and over were exempt from returning to work because of the health risks associated with COVID-19, Wednesday the Quebec government gave a nuanced directive for employees under 70 without underlying health issues to get back to the job.
According to Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault, who delivered the news during Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing, employers are required to ensure the safety of workers and implement social distancing. The directive was made under the recommendation of the public health department.
The department also recommended that because of COVID-19 outbreaks in penitentiaries, certain prisoners incarcerated in the province with health issues who have 30 days or less remaining in their sentence could be released early.
Deputy Premier Guilbault stressed that no prisoners serving time for a violent crime would be eligible for the early release.
During the briefing, Guilbault announced a $31 million action plan for mental health to address the impact of confinement and the stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There were 112 new deaths in the past day in Quebec, bringing the total to 2,510.
The province now has 34, 327 confirmed cases, up 910 from the day before. Of the confirmed cases in Quebec, 872 are in the Estrie region.
There are 1,840 patients in hospital due to COVID-19, up 19, and 213 of those are in intensive care.

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