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The 10 p.m. curfew in Quebec will be lifted on Monday

MONTREAL – The 10 p.m. curfew in Quebec will no longer be in effect as of Monday, January 17, as officials predict the province’s Omicron explosive will reach its peak. The prime minister also said he hopes restaurants and other venues can open in the coming weeks.

“Experts tell us that the new cases have reached a peak”, announced the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, during a press conference Thursday on the reopening of schools, joined by the Minister of Health Christian Dubé, the Acting Director of Public Health Dr Luc Boileau and the Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge.

“It means that the measures we put in place have worked.”

The Legault government announced a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew one day before New Year’s Eve, catching many off guard just before the holidays.

The province has also closed bars, gyms and indoor dining rooms at restaurants as part of a series of new measures in response to the surge in hospitalizations during the fifth wave of the pandemic. These measures have not been lifted.

Legault said he hopes restaurants and other venues can open in the coming weeks.

The province has announced that some measures will be lifted, such as the closure of non-essential stores on Sundays, which will end in time for Jan. 23. Non-essential stores will still be closed this Sunday as scheduled.

However, more shops will be needed to enforce the vaccination passport, the prime minister said. Businesses over 1,500 square feet will be subject to the vaccination passport as of January 24. The new measure will not apply to pharmacies and grocery stores.

“About 10 days ago there was an exponential increase in infections,” said Legault, when faced with questions about the government’s handling of the pandemic.

“We put exceptional measures in place, and 10 days later we have better infection control, and the increase has stabilized.”

Dr. Luc Boileau, Acting Director of Public Health for Quebec rotates his mask upon his arrival at a press conference in Montreal, Tuesday, January 11, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Paul Chiasson

The daily case count has been largely opaque following new measures restricting PCR testing to certain high-risk groups earlier in January.

The positivity rates, however, have slowed considerably. On Thursday, the province’s positivity rate was just under 16%, about half of what had been recorded a week earlier, when it exceeded 30%.

However, hospitalizations have dramatically increased due to the explosive Omicron wave in Quebec, and the worst is likely to come, the premier said.

“We have to be very careful. The number of hospitalizations is still very high and may continue to increase over the next few days,” he said, predicting that hospitals might know their admission rates sooner. higher this weekend.

Authorities continued to encourage Quebecers to get vaccinated. Even though Omicron infections spread rapidly among vaccinated and unvaccinated people, it still offers good protection against serious infections.

“The vaccination is continuing,” said Legault. “This is the key to being able to live with the virus.”

According to Thursday’s public health update, people infected with COVID-19 are 6.9 times more likely to end up in hospital if they are not vaccinated.

While unvaccinated people represent about 13% of the population, they represent 28% of people hospitalized and 45% of those in intensive care.

Legault admitted that the rollout of the third dose of vaccination in Ontario, allowing all adults to be vaccinated at the same time rather than one age group at a time, was better than that of Quebec, which currently has a delay in recall rates.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t win,” he said.

– This is breaking news. More details to come.