Nunavik-wide curfew in effect after first case of COVID-19

A Nunavik-wide curfew will be put into effect as of tonight across the northern Quebec region, according to the Kativik Regional Police Force.

People in all 14 northern villages will need to stay home between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

A photo of Kuujjuaraapik, Quebec in the Nunavik region. The Nunavik-wide curfew comes one day after local curfews were imposed in Kuujjuaraapik and Salluit. (Catou MacKinnon/CBC)

A curfew will be put into effect as of tonight across the northern Quebec region of Nunavik, in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

A release sent by the Kativik Regional Police Force early Sunday afternoon states that it is being imposed on all 14 northern villages in the region, by the chief of the Kativik Regional Police Force and director of public security, Jean-Pierre Larose.

Late Saturday night, health authorities in the region confirmed a case of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 in Salluit.

The Nunavik-wide curfew follows similar curfews imposed Saturday in Salluit and the village of Kuujjuaraapik.

"As of this evening all Nunavimmiut will need to stay at home from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. The curfew will remain in effect for an indefinite period of time," the release states.

Travel Restrictions

The release also said that travel between communities with snowmobiles is "strictly prohibited" and contact between people from different villages is strongly discouraged.

"The fewer the contacts between the residents of the different communities the more chances residents will give themselves to limit the virus from spreading," the release states.

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Access to all airports in Nunavik will also be restricted, with only priority services and cargo being authorized to land in the communities, according to the release. 

However, in Salluit, the airport is closed to all traffic until further notice, save for "exceptional circumstances."

Police say they will enforce the curfew with the support of all mayors of Northern villages.

Those mayors and their municipal councils will play a big role in enforcement, said the release.

"They are calling on everyone to vigorously practice social distancing and are asking their citizens to refrain from taking any actions on social media that may threaten the well-being of others," said the release.

The release quotes Larose as insisting that people need to stay at home to limit the virus spreading.