Shops with a storefront could be open from February 8, believes epidemiologist Nimâ Machouf.
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Prime Minister François Legault is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday at 5 p.m. on the extension of the stricter health measures put in place on January 9.
“The businesses, we could probably open them. Not that people stroll in shopping centers, but that they go to shops, that we could alleviate them a bit, ”she said in an interview with LCN.
She is also of the opinion that small gatherings outside could be allowed since they do not pose a high risk of the spread of COVID-19.
“All the gatherings outside, I’m not talking about crowds, I’m not talking about 100,000 people, but going to see the friends outside, in my opinion it’s not a danger, we could relax that a little, ”says Ms. Machouf.
The greatest risk of transmission, according to the epidemiologist, is in places where people “stay together too long” and where ventilation is poor.
She gives an example of gatherings in homes and workplaces “where people are close together, cannot protect themselves and ventilation is not good”.
The case of New Zealand
If she had been the right hand of the Minister of Health, Nimâ Machouf admits that she would have proposed to do things differently.
“I would have said: we do like New Zealand. We take a period, a month, we close everything, but absolutely everything. We give ourselves a lot of misery for a month, but after that, we do our normal life, ”she says.
In such a situation, border control would also have been essential.
“We are completely monitoring the borders. Once we know that inside we have eliminated the virus, at that time, we monitor everything that comes into Quebec, but we monitor drastically: mandatory quarantine, respect the 14 days and especially test quickly for be able to isolate positive cases from the rest of the population, ”she says.
Nimâ Machouf admits, however, that “there is no magic formula” to fight the pandemic.
She is also encouraged by the decrease in cases observed in recent days.
“If there is a decrease, and this is encouraging, we can probably reduce the measures, be less restrictive in places where the incidence has really decreased, but where the incidence is still quite significant, we should go there very cautiously because otherwise it can increase rapidly, ”she warns.