Coronavirus: Cases in Quebec climb to 2,021 while deaths rise to 18

The Quebec government is expected to provide an update on Saturday on its response to the novel coronavirus as cases continue to rise.

Deputy Minister and Minister of Public Safety Geneviève Guilbault will be leading the press conference expected to begin at 1 p.m.

As of Saturday morning, there are 2,021 cases in the province, including 18 recorded deaths and 29 recoveries.

The City of Montreal declared a state of emergency Friday afternoon as the number of cases of COVID-19 jumped to 971, representing 48 per cent of cases in the province.

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Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said the decision was made at the request of Quebec’s public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda.

The mayor’s declaration gives police officers new powers, including closing down non-essential businesses that remain open, stopping social gatherings and imposing fines on people for not self-isolating when ordered to do so.

Plante announced Friday the city plans to open more temporary shelters in the coming days to cope with the reduced number of beds in shelters. There are fewer beds available as shelters seek to apply social distancing measures.

It will also create outdoor day centres in public spaces normally frequented by the homeless, where food will be provided. The city plans to open five sites able to accommodate 1,000 people a day.

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