The Government has taken a number of measures to contain the spread, including:

  • the adoption, on March 13, 2020, of an Order in Council declaring a health emergency throughout Québec territory (PDF 19.36 Kb) (in French only). This exceptional measure will, by way of an example, enable the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux and establishments to prompotly purchase equipment or conclude the necessary contracts to protect the health of the population;
  • voluntary self-isolation This hyperlink will open in a new window. for 14 days for anyone who returns from abroad on or after March 12, 2020;
  • mandatory isolation This hyperlink will open in a new window. for 14 days for all public service employees and health care, education and daycare workers, both private and public, who return from abroad on or after March 12, 2020;
  • the prohibition of indoor gatherings of more than 250 people;
  • the public is urged to avoid unnecessary indoor gatherings;
  • elderly people 70 years of age and over are urged to stay at home, except in the case of necessity or in exceptional circumstances, such as a medical appointment;
  • the closing of all childcare services (childcare centres, subsidized and non-subsidized childcare services, home childcare services and unregulated childcare services) and the education network (elementary and secondary schools, training centres, private schools, CEGEPs, colleges and universities) from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 27. However, measures will be implemented to continue to offer childcare services to parents who work in the health network and in essential services such as police officers, firefighters, ambulance attendants, correctional officers, special constables, and so on;
  • regular visits are prohibited in hospitals, residential and long-term care centres, intermediate resources, family-type resources and private seniors’ homes throughout Québec’s territory;
  • prevention and control in health care settings in suspected or confirmed cases of infection;
  • coverage, by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), of health services related to COVID-19 provided by correspondence or by means of telecommunications;
  • the opening of designated clinics to deal with individuals displaying symptoms;
  • the postponement of municipal by-elections on March 15, 2020 and the 20 others planned by late April.

Health care professionals in Québec, in particular doctors, nurses, laboratory staff and paramedics, have access to tools to quickly identify cases suspicious for COVID-19, ensure they are managed appropriately and that the necessary prevention and control measures are taken.

 

Health recommendations

For citizens returning from travelling

Voluntary self-isolation This hyperlink will open in a new window. for 14 days is recommended for anyone returning from abroad on or after March 12, 2020. Returning travellers must be vigilant and monitor themselves for symptoms.

Self-isolation This hyperlink will open in a new window. is mandatory for all public service employees and health care, education and daycare workers, both private and public, returning from abroad. Public sector employees will continue their treatment during the isolation period.

Residents of Quebec who develop symptoms of fever, cough or difficulty breathing when they return from travelling abroad must contact the toll-free line 1 877 644-4545.

For everyone

  • Wash your hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
  • Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette:
    • Cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs.
    • If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.
  • If you are sick, avoid contact with more vulnerable people, including older adults and people who have a chronic disease. For example, avoid visiting people in hospital, people living in residential and long-term care centres or in private residences.
  • Avoid direct contact when you greet someone, such as shaking hands, and use alternative ways to greet people.

Every individual has their part to play to reduce the risk of spreading viruses.

Masks are not an effective means of protection for the general public. Their use is indicated more for patients who are suspected of being infected and for the health professionals who are providing care for them.

If you are worried or anxious about the coronavirus, you can contact the toll-free line 1 877 644-4545.

 

Symptoms and treatments

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are as follows:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

The symptoms can be mild (similar to a cold) or more severe (such as those associated with pneumonia and respiratory or kidney failure).

In rare cases, infection can lead to death. People most at risk of complications are those with a weakened immune system or a chronic disease and older people.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. Supportive treatment may, however, be provided.

Most people with COVID-19 will recover on their own.

For more general information about COVID-19, go to the page COVID-19 – General information.

 

Coverage of health services provided by means of telecommunications

Starting March 13, 2020, the RAMQ will cover health services provided by correspondence or by means of telecommunications. This coverage includes, for example, a telephone consultation with a physician.

 

Visits to hospitals, private seniors’ residence and residential and long-term care centres

Starting March 14, 2020, regular visits to hospitals, residential and long-term care centres, intermediate resources, family-type resources and private seniors’ homes will be prohibited to protect the most vulnerable individuals and workers in the health and social services network.

 

Education and childcare services networks

The Québec government has announced the closing, from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 27, of all childcare services (childcare centres, subsidized and non-subsidized childcare services, home childcare services and unregulated childcare services) and the education network (elementary and secondary schools, training centres, private schools, CEGEPs, colleges and universities).

However, measures will be implemented to continue to offer childcare services to parents who work in the health and social services network and in essential services. The Ministère de la Famille plans to requisition a certain number of childcare facilities that will remain open to provide services for priority clients. The needs are currently being assessed. Employers in the hospital network will contact their employees to provide the contact information for the childcare centres or daycare facilities where services will be provided.

Essential services cover occupations in the health network and police officers, firefighters, ambulance attendants, correctional services officers, and special constables.

For more information, see the Ministère de la Famille website This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only).

 

Events

The Gouvernement du Québec is banning all indoor gatherings of more than 250 people.

Cancelling unnecessary gatherings is also strongly recommended to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

 

Measures to be taken by businesses

Employers are asked to be flexible regarding their employees’ work schedules to limit, for example, crowds in public transit during rush hour.

If possible, employers are also asked to encourage their employees to telework.

Measures will be announced shortly to support businesses who are experiencing cash-flow problems due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Businesses that deliver goods from abroad in Québec do not have to ask their employees to temporarily self-isolate.

 

Health emergency

On March 13, 2020, the Québec government adopted an Order in Council that declares a health emergency throughout Québec’s territory (PDF 19.36 Kb) (in French only).

This exceptional measure empowers the government to implement an array of measures to protect the health of the population.

The Minister of Health and Social Services and establishments could, for example, promptly purchase equipment or conclude the necessary contracts to protect the health of the population.

 

Frequently asked questions

1. What are the main symptoms associated with COVID-19?

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are as follows:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

The symptoms can be mild (similar to a cold) or more severe (such as those associated with pneumonia and respiratory or kidney failure).

2. How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 usually infects the nose, throat and lungs. In most cases, it is spread by:

  • close contact with an infected person when the person coughs or sneezes;
  • touching infected surfaces with your hands and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

3. How long can COVID-19 survive on objects?

In general, COVID-19 does not survive for long on objects:

  • 3 hours on inert objects with dry surfaces;
  • 6 days on inert objects with wet surfaces.

4. Will wearing a mask protect me effectively against COVID-19?

Masks are not an effective means of protection for the general public in Québec. Their use is indicated more for patients who are suspected of being infected and for the health professionals who are providing care for them.

5. Is there any treatment for COVID-19?

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 for the moment. Most people with the virus will recover on their own by remaining at home without needing to go to the hospital.

6. Which countries are most at risk?

For this information, you are advised to consult the Travel Advice and Advisories This hyperlink will open in a new window. section on the Government of Canada site.

7. I have travel plans. Should I cancel them?

The Gouvernement du Québec is asking Quebecers to cancel non-essential trips.

If you decide to travel anyway, you are advised to consult the Travel Advice and Advisories This hyperlink will open in a new window. section on the Government of Canada site. You must also self-isolate for 14 days when you return.

8. I am returning from a trip. What do I have to do?

Voluntary self-isolation This hyperlink will open in a new window. for 14 days is recommended for anyone returning from abroad on or after March 12, 2020. Returning travellers must be vigilant and monitor themselves for symptoms.

Self-isolation This hyperlink will open in a new window. is mandatory for all public service employees and health care, education and daycare workers, both private and public, returning from abroad; Public sector employees will continue to receive their wages during the isolation period.

9. I work in the private sector and I have to self-isolate. Can my employer fire me?

The Gouvernement du Québec is asking employers to be understanding and flexible toward employees who are returning from travelling or who have symptoms.

10. Should I be worried about the COVID-19 situation?

For now, the spread of COVID-19 is under control in Québec, but the situation must be monitored closely. The Government is taking all the necessary measures to contain the contagion as much as possible.

11. If I must go into voluntary self-isolation, what instructions must I follow?

Self-isolation is when an infected or potentially infected person is asked to stay at home and monitor themselves for symptoms during the virus’s incubation period. You can find out more about recommended practices during self-isolation by visiting the page Instructions for self-Isolating in the home or co-living setting This hyperlink will open in a new window. on the Government of Canada’s website.

12. Which childcare services are closing?

All childcare services will be closed from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 27. The closing covers childcare centres and subsidized and non-subsidized childcare services, home childcare services, and unregulated childcare services.

However, measures will be implemented to continue to offer childcare services to parents who work in the health network and in essential services.

13. Why are schools and day care centres being closed now? Is it not premature to do so?

Québec is facing an emergency. For this reason, the Québec government is immediately adopting the necessary measures to reduce the risk of spreading. This is a responsible decision, based on the recommendations of the Direction de la Santé publique, which will reduce to a maximum risks for Québec’s population.

14. Will parents who must take two weeks of leave because schools and childcare services are closed continue to be paid?

Workers in the public sector will continue to be paid and will be asked to engage in teleworking when possible.

Employers in the private sector are encouraged to display flexibility. Compensation measures will be implemented and announced shortly.

15. Could the two-week closing of schools and childcare services be prolonged?

The Québec government is assessing the situation in real time to give priority to maintaining Quebecers’ health. If such a decision is made, the individuals concerned will be notified in due course.

16. Will lost days in schools, CEGEPs and universities be repeated?

For the time being, lost days will not be repeated. The Québec government is asking teachers to make the necessary adjustments in their schedules. Additional directives will be issued in due course.

17. What must parents who work in the health network and whose children attend childcare services do?

Measures will be implemented to continue to offer childcare services to parents who work in the health network and in essential services.

18. How will the childcare centres selected to remain open for health and social services network personnel or people providing essential services be identified? How will parents be notified?

The Ministère de la Famille plans to requisition a certain number of childcare facilities that will remain open to provide services for priority clients. The needs are currently being assessed. Employers in the hospital network will contact their employees to provide the contact information for the childcare centres or daycare facilities where services will be provided.

19. Must parents continue to pay the childcare service?

No. The government will pay the parental contribution and the childcare service subsidy for the entire two weeks.

For parents whose children attend a non-subsidized childcare service, no payment will be required during the two-week period.

20. Will non-subsidized daycare centres be compensated?

Yes. Measures will be announced shortly.

21. Will personnel members at childcare centres and subsidized childcare facilities continue to be paid?

Yes. Employees will be paid as usual.

22. Which educational services are closing?

All services offered in the education network will be closed from Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 27. The closing concerns elementary and secondary schools, training centres, private schools, CEGEPs and colleges and universities.

23. Can COVID-19 cause a food shortage?

No. There is no reason to fear a food shortage.

24. Are the elderly allowed to visit hospitals, residential and long-term care centres, intermediate resources, family-type resources and private seniors’ homes?

Starting March 13, 2020, regular visits to hospitals, residential and long-term care centres, intermediate resources, family-type resources and private seniors’ homes will be prohibited to protect the most vulnerable individuals and workers in the health and social services network. In the case of births, the other parent, significant other or natural caregiver identified for this purpose is not deemed to be a visitor and can accompany the mother.

25. Are visits to hospitals, private senior’s residence and residential and long-term care centres allowed?

Starting March 13, 2020, regular visits to hospitals, private senior’s residence and residential and long-term care centres will be prohibited to protect the most vulnerable individuals and workers in the health and social services network.

26. Does the RAMQ cover health services provided by means of telecommunications?

Yes, the RAMQ will from now on cover health services provided by correspondence or by means of telecommunications. This coverage includes, for example, a telephone consultation with a physician.

27. What is a health emergency?

A health emergency can be declared when a threat to the health of the population demands the immediate application of certain measures. It empowers the Québec government and the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux to implement an array of measures to protect the health of the population.

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux could, for example, promptly purchase equipment or conclude the necessary contracts to protect the health of the population.

28. Is this the first time that Québec has declared a health emergency?

Yes. This exceptional measure demonstrates the Gouvernement du Québec’s determination to adopt the necessary measures to protect Quebecers.

29. Which jobs do essential services include?

Essential services include occupations in the health network and police officers, firefighters, ambulance attendants, correctional services officers, and special constables.

30. Will a general directive be issued for civil servants concerning teleworking?

The directors of human resources in government departments, who are receiving informationi from the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor, will oversee such decisions. Needs and the ability to offer teleworking differ depending on the government departments and bodies.

31. Are pregnant women at risk?

According to the World Health Organization, pregnant women are at no greater risk than adults in general of complications related to COVID-19.

Scientists note that there is no known risk of malformation or mother-to-foetus transmission.

The usual preventive rules apply to pregnant women.

32. Can restaurants that seat more than 250 remain open?

Restaurants and sugar shacks are encouraged to limit the number of customers in a given space to a maximum of 250 in order to contribute to public health efforts in Québec.

Recourse to self-serve buffets where customers must line up in close proximity to each other and to food and utensils poses increased risks and should be avoided. Moreover, the Government of Canada recommends avoiding self-serve buffets at gatherings.

33. What happens to truck drivers from outside our borders?

Truck drivers and air crews and seagoing personnel do not have to self-isolate given the important role that they play in the transportation of critical goods such as food.

34. If I am abroad, do I have to immediately come home?

The Québec government suggests that individuals who are abroad come home if possible.

The Government of Canada in its Travel Advice and Advisories section recommends that individuals who are abroad find out about the commercial options avilable to them to return to Canada and to return sooner than planned if such options become more limited.

35. Is it preferable to self-isolate and stay home in the coming weeks even if individuals are not returning from a trip?

Confinement is one of the measures that will reduce the spread of COVID-19. Elderly people 70 years of age and over and those suffering from chronic diseases are asked to stay home,except in the case of necessity or exceptional circumstances, for example for a medical appointment.

Visits to hospitals, residential and long-term care centres, intermediate resources, family-type resources and private seniors’ homes are prohibited until further notice.

Healthy individuals are urged to avoid gatherings as much as possible, especially in enclosed spaces, and to follow basic health advice.

36. Can the public continue to use mass transit?

Mass transit services continue to operate. Users are asked to follow the usual health advice.

Moreover, they are asked, as far as possible, to modify their usual schedules to limit rush-hour crowds in mass transit systems.