Legault pens open letter of hope to Quebecers urging unity this winter amid COVID-19

·2 min read

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault is urging residents to stay united and maintain their efforts to keep COVID-19 at bay with the tougher winter months around the corner.

In an open letter published Saturday, Legault thanked Quebecers for their efforts and solidarity in helping keep the COVID-19 situation in the province manageable. 

"We have regained a certain amount of control over the pandemic," Legault wrote. "That is no small feat with winter approaching."

But he added the battle isn't won and Quebecers will need to maintain their efforts to make it through the winter. 

"There is hope, with the vaccines that are coming," he wrote. "In the meantime, more than ever, we will have to take care of ourselves, and look after our loved ones and our neighbours."

The letter comes as Quebec reported 1,234 new COVID-19 infections and 29 further deaths linked to the novel coronavirus on Saturday, a fourth straight day of more than 1,000 daily infections.

Health Minister Christian Dube noted in a tweet that certain regions of the province saw a considerable spike in the number of cases reported Saturday, urging a collective effort as he has in recent weeks.

The province has been the hardest hit by COVID-19 in the country, leading the way with 113,423 infections and 6,431 deaths, along with 96,831 recoveries.

Quebec currently has 10,161 active cases.

The Health Department reported Saturday that hospitalizations dropped by 16 to 523 and patients in intensive care was up by one to 78.

Legault said he finds comfort in children being able to go to school despite the pandemic, adding he wanted to see kids celebrating traditions like Halloween because they're also important. 

"Like the rest of us, children need a certain normality with a touch of magic," Legault wrote. "For the same reason, I want us to celebrate Christmas in Quebec."

Legault said they would look different without extended family, but he'd consider it a victory in his books if grandparents could see their grandchildren for the holiday. 

Legault also urged Quebecers to keep an eye out for each other and watch for signs of loneliness and distress exacerbated by the pandemic.

"We must lend a listening ear, open our eyes and reach out to those who we feel are fragile," he wrote.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2020

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press