Advertisement

Masks soon mandatory on public transit, Quebec public health director suggests

People wear face masks as they wait to enter a store in Montreal, Saturday, June 27, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world.
People wear face masks as they wait to enter a store in Montreal, Saturday, June 27, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

At this point in the coronavirus pandemic, the “worst danger” that awaits Quebec is forgetfulness, said national director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, hinting that masks will soon be mandatory in public transit.

At a press conference in Quebec City on Monday afternoon, Arruda once again decried a relaxation in compliance with health regulations, such as physical distancing and wearing a face covering.

“It is important not to forget that this virus still exists,” he said, reiterating that he expects a second wave of contagion, or at least “ripples.”

“We all have a responsibility to prepare.”

To do this, the mandatory wearing of masks while using public transit is a measure “very, very strongly evaluated today.”

Read more: ‘The situation is improving,’ Quebec’s top doctor says as province resumes daily coronavirus updates

Story continues below advertisement

“I invite you to listen to the press briefings for the next few days to see what is going on,” he said.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

On Tuesday, Quebec Premier François Legault, Arruda and newly-appointed Health Minister Christian Dubé will be holding a press conference in Montreal, where there is suspicion the new mandatory mask measure will be announced.

Also joining the briefing will be Chantal Rouleau, the minister responsible for the Montreal region and the metropolis, and Dr. Mylène Drouin, the regional director of public health for Montreal.

While on his regional tour, Arruda met with the health authorities of Capitale-Nationale on Monday. He praised their “very agile” organizational model, which, according to him, will get back on track at the slightest sign of resurgence of the virus.

“I want to recognize the exemplary work of the public health teams. I ask them to take a breath and a short vacation to be ready to attack again, if necessary, in the coming weeks or months.”

Read more: Quebec backtracks and reinstates daily coronavirus updates

The regional director of public health, Dr. François Desbiens, echoed his colleague by warning the population against the present “summer lull.”

“If we lower our guard, the virus only awaits opportunities for transmission,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Desbiens, who will be leaving office soon, stressed that the Capitale-Nationale region, which represents 10 per cent of the province’s population, recorded only three per cent of deaths related to COVID-19 in Quebec.

— With files from Global’s Brittany Henriques