François Legault, exasperated, cannot explain the slowness of Justin Trudeau in further controlling the arrival in the country of travelers to limit the spread of variants of the coronavirus. He is also worried about access to vaccine doses with the rise of protectionism in Europe.
“With each passing day, there is an added risk. There is an urgent need to act, ”the Prime Minister said Tuesday at a press briefing.
“It’s catastrophic when this variant arrives with travelers from abroad. It’s an exponential spread, ”he said. Several variants have appeared in other countries: Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil. They are either more contagious, or more deadly.
Mr. Legault, who has repeatedly said “does not understand” the ambivalence of Justin Trudeau, “re-asks” him to ban non-essential travel, or, for lack of a better way, to force travelers arriving at the airport. country to do a mandatory quarantine in a supervised hotel, at their expense. Mr. Trudeau “has all the powers” to do so, he said.
For his part, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier in the day that new traveler screening measures would soon be announced. But he argued at the same time that international flight bans could have an impact on deliveries of food and medicine flown to Canada. In addition to passengers, many commercial aircraft carry cargo in their holds.
He recalled that quarantine for any Canadian returning to the country has been mandatory since last March, and that travelers must since the beginning of January have a negative result of covid-19 before taking their return flight. But this is not enough for Quebec.
Last week, Mr. Legault said that if Ottawa did not budge, Quebec would. Was this threat executed?
François Legault retorts that the Sureté du Québec has been enforcing the federal quarantine since last Friday, without however being able to issue a fine, which he deplores.
Dr. Horacio Arruda said for his part that he would have to “consult his lawyers” to see if Quebec’s public health law would allow him to force quarantine in hotel rooms. “The law [fédéral] quarantine allows you to do that, so it should be the one that is in primacy, ”he added.
Another problem on the radar: access to vaccine doses which is becoming increasingly difficult. During the day, the European Union indicated that it will put in place this week a mechanism that will require pharmaceuticals to inform it of all their exports abroad. This concerns Moderna, which has facilities in Spain in particular, but also Pfizer, which produces its vaccine in Belgium, and Astrazeneca, whose vaccine is about to be authorized in Europe and under review in Canada.
Mr. Trudeau spoke with pharmaceuticals and wanted to be reassured, but François Legault is on his guard. “Mr. Trudeau tells us he still wants standards in CHSLDs […] it would be better to take care of foreign travelers and doses for vaccines, ”said Mr. Legaut.
Despite this worrying news, the Prime Minister however welcomed the decrease in new cases, with a daily average of around 1,500 new infections detected. However, he added that the situation remains difficult in greater Montreal and in hospitals.
But he dangled a glimmer of hope, especially in the regions: next week, he could announce “a certain relaxation of certain instructions in certain regions of Quebec”, where the Covid-19 is less present.