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Quebec Becomes First Province to Restart Lockdowns - for Omicron Variant

The Quebec government is set to, as the first government in all North America, enter lockdown for the Omicron variant.

It will shut down several public settings Monday evening, including bars, taverns, casinos, theatres, gyms and even schools, as cases of COVID-19 soar in a pre-holiday spike.

All those establishments were closed as of 5 p.m. Monday.

"The situation is critical," Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said at a press conference at 1 p.m. Schools across the province will be closed until at least Jan. 10, but remote learning could be extended further into January.

Restaurants and dining rooms can also stay open at 50 per cent capacity but only from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dancing and karaoke is still prohibited.

"If we have to add new measures, we'll do it over the coming days," Dubé said, adding that his team is meeting Monday night to go over the latest projections and that "we will not be scared of going back on certain decisions given the new information."

"We are waging war against this variant," he said. "We're going to do everything we can to work together."

According to the Health Department, 88 per cent of Quebecers aged five and older have received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, 81 per cent have received at least two doses.

Of the new infections, 2,530 involved people who had received two doses within at least the past seven days.

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