COVID-19: Quebec brings back nightly curfew, private gatherings prohibited, as cases soar

Quebec is bringing back its controversial overnight curfew beginning Friday at 10 p.m., which is New Year’s Eve, and continuing to 5 a.m. the next day.

Quebec Premier François Legault made the announcement Thursday amid increasing hospitalizations and an exponential growth in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant.

Also beginning on Friday, private gatherings in homes will be prohibited. Only people who live alone or need caregivers will be allowed to join another family bubble.

Restaurants dining rooms will also be closed but take out options will be allowed to continue.

The province reported a record-breaking 14,188 infections and an increase of 135 pandemic-related hospitalizations for a total of 939 patients, including 138 in intensive care.

Earlier in the day, Quebec’s institute for excellence in health and social services, (INESSS) released its modelling predictions which show an already dire situation getting even worse.

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The more optimistic scenario, based on average growth rates, shows that COVID-19 hospitalizations could reach 1,600 in the next three weeks, while intensive care patients could jump to 300.

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The second scenario projects up to 2,100 COVID-19 patients in regular beds and 375 in intensive care, which is higher than what the province saw in previous waves of the pandemic.

The institute, however, said the intensification of vaccination efforts, coupled with newly implemented or upcoming public health measures, could slow the predicted increase in hospitalizations.

— More to come …

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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