Montreal

Quebec premier asks young people to quit partying and take COVID-19 seriously

“I was young once,” François Legault said. “I know there’s a time, when we’re young, when we don’t listen to our elders. But it’s critical now. This is serious.”

'I know there’s a time, when we’re young, when we don’t listen.... But it’s critical now,' Legault says

Premier François Legault is trying to persuade the young people of Quebec to stop getting together. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Quebec's premier issued a warning to the province's teenagers Tuesday: listen to your elders and quit partying.

François Legault said he has been told that young people aren't taking the COVID-19 situation seriously. He said in countries such as South Korea and Italy, youth have been key carriers of the virus.

"I was young once," he said. "I know there's a time, when we're young, when we don't listen to our elders. But it's critical now. This is serious."

He called on youth leaders and social media influencers to help persuade their peers to stop getting together.

"Maybe as a young guy or young girl, you're not really at risk of death. But you can give the virus to your grandmother and grandfather, and then they are at risk."

François Legault reminds teens that partying and socializing risks spreading COVID-19 to others. 0:59

The government, he said, will be starting its own awareness campaign aimed at young people, encouraging them to spread information, not the virus.

Montreal musician Coeur de pirate quickly heeded the call, posting a song to Twitter aimed at youth:

 

The number of confirmed cases of the virus is now at 74, up from 50 on Monday, Legault said.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec's director of public health, said the information the government is receiving about young people is anecdotal — they aren't being inordinately affected by the virus.

But he reiterated that young people are less likely to have COVID-19 symptoms and therefore more likely to spread the virus to others without knowing they are carriers. 

On Monday, Arruda answered a question about what parents should do with their cooped up teens by saying, in part, that they should avoid hanging out in large groups, and that he recommends they don't swap bodily fluids.

On the other end of the age spectrum, over the weekend Legault asked those who are over 70 years old to stay in their homes unless it's absolutely necessary that they go out.

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