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People sit on a terrace in Old Montreal, on June 13, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Quebec Premier Francois Legault warned on Sunday that COVID-19 health measures need to be eased carefully despite the recent drop in new virus cases and related hospitalizations.

The province will further lift restrictions on Monday, including moving all the regions remaining at the orange alert level to less-restrictive yellow.

The change means that indoor gatherings will be permitted among two households and outdoor team sports can resume, among other measures.

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But Legault said he was disappointed to see images of large outdoor parties, including one that recently took place on the Mohawk territory of Kanesatake.

He told a news conference he was open to honouring a long-time request from the Kanesatake chief by creating an Indigenous police force to patrol the area, but said that in the meantime he had called the provincial police to discuss how to ensure health rules can be enforced in public spaces across the province.

“I wouldn’t like, after all the efforts we made in the last year, that in the last couple of weeks before a majority (of people) are vaccinated, that we don’t respect the rules and have bad consequences,” he said.

Legault said COVID-19 is much less likely to be transmitted outdoors, but it’s not impossible.

Quebec has reported fewer than 200 new cases a day for more than a week, and hospitalizations are less than half of what they were a month ago.

The province reported an additional 151 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths due to the pandemic on Sunday.

Legault said he’s asked the province’s public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, about the possibility of allowing more than 2,500 fans in the Bell Centre to cheer on the Montreal Canadiens as they take on the Vegas Golden Knights in the third round of the NHL playoffs, following a request from the team.

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He said he’s had discussions with many people, including Canadiens player Phillip Danault, and understands that the team doesn’t want to be at a disadvantage compared to Vegas, which has opened its arena to full capacity. He says he’s asked if more fans can be allowed inside without compromising public health.

“I’m pushing on Dr. Arruda, but we have to be fair,” he said.

“There are many festivals that were planned in Quebec that were cancelled or reduced to 2,500, so I don’t want to give special rights to the Bell Centre.”

He said public health is also considering whether to allow bars to extend their hours in order to take advantage of the lucrative playoff crowd.

Under current pandemic health rules, bars must stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. and must close at midnight.

Health Minister Christian Dube issued his own warning on Twitter, saying that despite positive recent trends, the average number of new cases is still higher than it was at the same time last year.

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He said Quebecers need to remain cautious and get vaccinated in order to avoid a resurgence such as the one the province saw last fall.

“If we want to win against the virus, we have to get vaccinated,” Dube wrote. “Let’s stay cautious.”

The province reported Sunday that it gave 97,000 more vaccine doses in the previous 24 hours and added several thousand from previous days to its tally, for a total of 6,697,703 shots administered so far.

Yukon declares COVID-19 outbreak with 18 active cases

Yukon’s acting chief medical officer has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 in Whitehorse.

There are currently 18 active cases of the virus in the territory, 15 of which are in its capital.

Dr. Catherine Elliott says the outbreak is affecting people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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She says some of the people who have been infected participated in organized gatherings and informal events, such as high school graduations and house parties.

Six of the cases were reported on Friday.

Yukon has seen a total of 104 cases of COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic.

Ontario reports 530 new cases, seven more deaths

Ontario is reporting 530 new COVID-19 infections and seven more deaths today.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 102 of the new cases are in Toronto, 97 are in Waterloo, 81 are in Peel Region, and 68 are in the Porcupine health unit.

Hamilton and Ottawa also recorded 24 new cases each.

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She says the numbers are based on roughly 20,700 tests completed since the last daily report.

The province says 186,415 vaccines were administered in the last day, for a total of 11,208,867 doses given so far.

On Saturday, the Ontario government announced those who received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose will be able to get a second shot of any vaccine after eight weeks, down from the previous interval of 12 weeks.

People walk with face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, March 11, 2021.

CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

Quebec reports 151 COVID-19 cases, two deaths as hospitalizations drop

The Quebec government is reporting 151 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths due to the pandemic.

Hospitalizations dropped by 12 to 215, while the number of people in intensive care fell by one to 58.

Quebec has reported fewer than 200 new cases a day for more than a week, and hospitalizations are less than half of what they were a month ago.

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But Health Minister Christian Dube says the average number of new cases is still higher than it was at the same time last year, ahead of a COVID-19 resurgence that took place in the fall.

He says Quebecers need to remain cautious and get vaccinated in order to beat the virus.

The province gave 97,000 more vaccine doses in the previous 24 hours and added several thousand from previous days to its tally, for a total of 6,697,703 shots administered so far.

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