Experts debate whether Quebec should lift partial lockdown next Monday


The partial lockdown measures imposed by the Legault government over the Christmas holidays are scheduled to be lifted in a week but some experts say that shouldn't happen.

Roxane Borgès Da Silva, professor at the School of Public Health at the Université de Montreal said that the recent COVID numbers are catastrophic and there's no way we should reopen high schools and retail stores selling non-essential items next Monday. 

"We can't afford that," said Da Silva in an interview with CJAD 800.

"If the government doesn't put in place effective measures, we will hit a wall."

Da Silva suggests four more weeks, with a curfew and high schools staying online.

"We have no choice at this point but to go through this very strict lockdown - it's very worrying to see all these cases, all these hospitalizations," said Da SIlva. "If there is a curfew, if the lockdown is very strict, there's no reason that the lockdown will have to continue after four weeks."

Dr. Don Vinh, an MUHC infectious disease specialist, said they need to crack down on scofflaws but he's not sure about a longer lockdown.

"We have yet to control this outbreak. And if we have yet to control it, the government has to strongly consider either tightening the restrictions even further or prolonging them even longer," said Dr. Vinh.

"The duration of the lockdown isn't going to do much if people aren't going to adhere to it. The government can recommend a three month lockdown but if only 60 or 70% adhere to it, it's not going to make much difference."

Da Silva also said while elementary schools could reopen, high schools should stick with online learning for the rest of the month to reduce community transmission.

"I'm not sure that the schools are a major driver of that - that doesn't mean we let our guard down," said Dr. Vinh.

"If schools are going to continue, they need to continue with strict adherence of the public health measures and I think, overall,  the schools have been extremely adherent to public health measures."

Quebec reported 2546 new COVID cases - 1128 of them in Montreal alone.


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