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Quebec looks at ways to intervene in private homes as coronavirus cases surge

Pedestrians make their way along Ste- Catherine street in Montreal, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.
Pedestrians make their way along Ste- Catherine street in Montreal, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Quebec is looking at ways to intervene in private homes to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus as 303 new infections were reported Wednesday.

Premier François Legault said the government is evaluating how to enforce public health directives during private gatherings such as dinner parties, which authorities say are driving community transmission of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

“Right now the problem is at home,” Legault told reporters.

The difficulty, however, is that police cannot enter a private residence without a warrant. Since the province cannot enforce the 10-person limit or physical distancing at those events, Legault says the public needs to exercise more caution in their day-to-day lives.

Read more: Quebec raises coronavirus alert level for Montreal, other regions as situation becomes ‘critical’

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“I’m telling Quebecers that first the virus is very dangerous,” he said. “There is a real risk of deaths. There is a real risk that we need to close schools, companies — so please respect the two metres.”

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Quebec has seen a surge in new cases in recent weeks, with the caseload standing at 65,857 as of Wednesday. There are 410 confirmed cases across 237 schools, according to the government.

The uptick has led to the province asking citizens to be more cautious and limit private events as much as possible to stave off a possible second wave. Eight regions, including Montreal, are now in the “early warning” yellow zone of the government’s four-level alert system.

The premier admitted he is worried about the upward trend.

READ MORE: Montrealers must follow COVID-19 health measures after city put on alert, mayor says

On Wednesday, the province also recorded three more deaths linked to COVID-19. One of those deaths occurred in the past 24 hours. The death toll stands at 5,788.

The number of hospitalizations dropped by three to 130. Of them, there are 26 patients in intensive care — an increase of three.

Quebec reported 22,568 tests given Monday, the last day for which that information is available.

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Click to play video 'Where the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec goes from here' Where the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec goes from here
Where the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec goes from here

With files from the Canadian Press