Quebec Standard

Most Quebecers back relaxing public health measures, but specialists urge alert


Key takeaways: 

  • With Europe seeing increasing cases, the 6th wave here is feasible.
  • In mid-April, Quebec will phase out the masking order in public areas. 

Quebec citizens back the easing of public health measures: 

Most Quebecers are relaxed seeing public health measures reduced, a new poll reveals, but specialists are worried an upward trend in COVID-19 cases in Europe could mean a sixth wave is on its way here.

Canadian cases have managed to follow the pattern of the pandemic in Europe, which is now noticing an upsurge in the infectious Omicron subvariant, known as BA.2. Cases are beginning to climb in the U.K., the Netherlands, and Germany.

This weekend, Quebec ended vaccine passports, and the region seeks to raise mask mandates in public areas by mid-April.

Universite du Québec à Montreal virologist Benoit Barbeau says though it’s too early to tell how things will play out, the conclusion to lift mask orders may be premature.

Also read: Groups ask for a freeze on Hydro-Québec rates

Experts warn people on the sixth wave

“I think that we ought to consider it over and be more aggressive in determining the circumstances in Quebec,” he said. “Thankfully, right now, we can see that the digit of hospitalizations keeps going down in numbers, but we still have active transmission.”

Monitoring cases in Quebec with a more rigorous process to PCR testing and measuring viral loads in wastewater are proper ways to evaluate whether or not to relax measures and mitigate the sixth wave if it looks possible, said Barbeau. The Quebec College of Physicians is cautioning people to stay cautious.

“We are all keen to put the pandemic after us,” they tweeted Monday. “But in light of the powerful resurgence of cases internationally, we must stay very alert. Let’s protect ourselves and think of the most vulnerable.”

Immunity from booster shots and last infections could also help lessen the stringency of the BA.2 variant, which has been in Canada as long as Omicron.

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