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Coronavirus: Montreal boosts police presence, expands measures and extends state of emergency

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Quebec confirms three new deaths, cases at 5,518' Coronavirus outbreak: Quebec confirms three new deaths, cases at 5,518
WATCH: Coronavirus outbreak: Quebec confirms three new deaths, cases at 5,518

Montreal is expanding measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and extending its state of emergency during the ongoing health crisis.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced new measures involving parks, parking for healthcare workers and BIXIs on Thursday as the city remains the COVID-19 outbreak epicentre in the province, accounting for roughly half of Quebec’s cases.

Plante announced that the city’s BIXI bike sharing service will be available as of April 15. She said the bikes will be cleaned daily, but should only be used for “essential trips” to go to work or run errands.

She added that this isn’t the time for people to be going on leisurely bike rides.

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This also isn’t the time for people to explore other areas, according to Plante. She asked that residents limit their walks and errands to within their neighbourhoods.

Plante said Montreal’s six largest parks will remain open for now, but there the city is boosting police presence to enforce physical distancing.

READ MORE: Montreal parks will close if public doesn’t respect coronavirus rules, mayor warns

This includes the Lachine Canal and Mont-Royal, Jeanne-Mance, Laurier, Lafontaine and Maisonneuve parks.

Authorities will also not hesitate to fine people for not respecting social-distancing measures, Plante said.

As for parking, Plante said more free parking will be made available to health-care workers of the CHUM and Jewish General hospitals.

As of Thursday, Montreal accounts for 2,642 of the 5,518 cases in Quebec. The death toll has topped 36, with 17 of the fatalities reported in Montreal.

There are currently 149 hospitalizations in the city, including 39 people in intensive care.

READ MORE: Quebecers flouting coronavirus rules can expect hefty fines, premier warns

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