More Quebec regions are becoming red zones as of Saturday night

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MONTREAL -- As of Saturday night, nearly all the regions along the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City will be subjected to new restrictions as they move to the highest COVID-19 alert level.

Bars, restaurant dining rooms and gyms in so-called "red zones" must be closed, sports are limited and private citizens are not allowed to gather in private homes with anyone outside their household, with few exceptions.

Rules requiring high school students to wear masks in class, which are already in effect in the Greater Montreal and Quebec City regions, will be applicable in the new red zones as of the middle of next week.

In a Facebook post, Premier Francois Legault urged Quebecers to take care of their mental health, noting that many people may be feeling scared or anxious during a second wave.

"Take the time to call someone who lives alone," he wrote.

"Take the time to call your grandparents and vulnerable loved ones who live more isolated."

An online survey carried out by groups representing new mothers reported that COVID-19 has increased stress among women who have given birth in recent months.

Some 38.6 per cent of the 267 mothers surveyed between May 5 and Aug. 10 said they experienced considerable stress and anxiety in giving birth during the pandemic, while 67 per cent said the absence of their partner or loved ones impacted the delivery process.

Another 37.1 per cent said they experienced moderate stress, while less than 10 per cent said they'd felt no additional anxiety at all.

Quebec has reported more than 1,000 new cases for six of the last seven days.

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