Regions to stay closed, researchers believe

While the Public Health evokes the lifting of the barriers preventing to go towards the regions little affected by COVID-19, a “perfect deconfinement plan” prepared by a team of Quebec researchers recommends on the contrary to maintain them.

As Quebec begins to present the details of its deconfinement plan, the professor of nursing at the University of Quebec in Outaouais, Drissa Sia, and two of her colleagues have drawn up a list of measures to put in place in order to to successfully complete this crucial step according to various scientific writings.

Among the points put forward by the researcher, Québec must plan for deconfinement by region, starting with those that were least affected by COVID-19 and continue to ensure that people from elsewhere cannot enter it.

Although the ban on inter-regional travel has been one of the last measures the provincial government has put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, it should be one of the last to be lifted, they said.

“You have to learn from the first regions you deconfine to improve the following,” said Drissa Sia.

Among the regions of Quebec where there are the fewest cases of COVID-19, we find the Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Gaspésie.

As these areas are home to fewer people potentially infected with the virus, a potential outbreak may appear more slowly, Drissa Sia said.

In the event that a company in one of these regions reopens, employees from other regions should avoid going there and continue teleworking, he added.

The government does not seem to share their findings, however. On Monday, Quebec’s national director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, hinted that the roadblocks put in place to prevent non-essential travel between regions could soon be lifted.

“We will be less forced,” he said, stressing that travel restrictions could however be quickly put back in place, if necessary.

In the office of the Minister of Public Security, however, it was confirmed that the roadblocks are still maintained, but that a deconfinement plan is currently in preparation.

Among the other “winning conditions” put forward by Mr. Sia’s team for successful deconfinement, we find the reorganization of workplaces to avoid the risks of contagion, the wearing of mandatory masks in public and the maintenance of safety measures already in place in essential services.

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