Curfew imposed in Salluit, Kuujjuaraapik in response to COVID-19

Residents of three villages in Nunavik (northern Quebec) are required to stay home between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. "until further notice," according to a release from regional police.

Residents are required to stay home from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

Whapmagoostui, in northern Quebec. This community and the neighbouring village of Kuujjuaraapik imposed a curfew Saturday to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Marika Wheeler/CBC)

Residents of the communities of Salluit, Kuujjuaraapik and Whapmagoostui in northern Quebec have been restricted to their homes between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. as a new curfew goes into effect.

The curfew was imposed Saturday in the communities of Salluit and Kuujjuaraapik by the Kativik Regional Police as a response to COVID-19. A similar curfew was announced by the Whapmagoostui First Nation council earlier the same day.

Health authorities confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the region Saturday evening. A woman in Salluit, a village of about 1200 people on the shores of the Hudson Strait, is currently in self-isolation. In addition to the curfew, in Salluit, the airport is closed to all traffic.

A release from the police force accompanying the announcement of the curfew in Kuujjuaraapik says the "exceptional measure" was taken "for the safety of the citizens and the need to consolidate efforts with the authorities of Whapmagoostui."

Kuujjuaraapik and the Cree community of Whapmagoostui neighbour each other at the mouth of the Great Whale River on the shores of Hudson Bay. A website from the Makivik Corporation, which represents Inuit in Nunavik (northern Quebec), lists the population of the settlement at 1,517 people.

Kuujjuaraapik and Whapmagoostui currently have no confirmed cases of COVID-19.

On Friday, the first confirmed case was identified in the Cree community of Nemaska, some 400 kilometres to the south of the two communities, and movement between northern communities has been severely restricted.

Quebec, with nearly 2,500 cases and 22 deaths as of Saturday afternoon, is the hardest-hit province in Canada.

The release from police said they will enforce the curfew, in cooperation with local authorities, "until further notice."

"The Northern Village of Kuujjuaraapik ... is calling on its citizens for their understanding," the release reads, "in order to contain the coronavirus from spreading into the community."