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Quebec launches investigation into COVID-19 death of inmate, province meets 14K daily testing goal

Calls for faster action to stop COVID-19 spread in prisons
WATCH: Calls for faster action to stop COVID-19 spread in prisons

Quebec’s Public Security Department says two investigations have been launched into the death this week of a Montreal inmate due to COVID-19.

Marie-Josee Montminy, a department spokeswoman, says the department’s internal investigations division is probing the death of the man who had been detained at the Bordeaux provincial jail.

Montminy says the Quebec coroner’s office is also investigating.

READ MORE: Coronavirus outbreak: Quebec announces gradual reopening of museums, drive-in cinemas, libraries

Rights groups said the detainee, Robert Langevin, died on Tuesday after contracting COVID-19 in jail.

The 72-year-old had filed a complaint with the Quebec ombudsman’s office in late March pleading for his release amid fears he would contract the virus.

His death spurred calls from rights groups and other detainees’ families for Quebec to release more inmates to halt the spread of COVID-19.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Quebec federal inmates file application for class-action lawsuit

On Saturday, Quebec reported 75 new deaths for a total of 3,940 fatalities since the health crisis began. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province climbed by 697, bringing the total to 46,838.

Health officials say 1,452 people are currently in hospital with the virus including 167 in intensive care.

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The City of Montreal announced it was extending its state of emergency on Saturday until May 26. Montreal remains the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in the province, accounting for 23,696 — over half — of all cases in Quebec. The city is the hardest hit metropolis in the country.

On Friday the province began allowing outdoor gatherings with a maximum of 10 people from three addresses with social distancing measures in place.

The province will further relax measures on Monday when some retail businesses are set to reopen in the greater Montreal area.

The government has been urging people with symptoms to get tested and authorities reported Saturday that they have surpassed their daily testing goal of 14,000.

Health officials also reported that over 14,000 people have so far recovered from the virus.

Quebec announces gradual reopening of cultural venues

On Friday, Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault accompanied by the minister of Culture and Communications Nathalie Roy announced that certain cultural venues would be opening their doors to the public as early as May 29.

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Included in the announcement are museums, drive-in theatres and loan services at public libraries.

–With files from Global News’ Annabelle Olivier and The Canadian Press

Coronavirus around the world: May 22, 2020
Coronavirus around the world: May 22, 2020