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Alberta suspends legislature amid soaring COVID-19 cases, Quebec eases restrictions

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government is suspending the spring sitting of the legislature due to soaring, record−breaking caseloads of COVID−19.

Government House Leader Jason Nixon says in a news release the two−week suspension is to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus and is not due to any confirmed COVID cases among legislature members or staff.

The tentative return date is May 17, and Nixon says the house can be reconvened earlier if an emergency arises.

<who>Photo Credit: Canadian Press

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley has characterized Kenney’s decision as "cowardly."

Notley says the legislature has critical work to do on the pandemic — such as bringing in rules for paid sick leave.

The province has seen more than 2,000 new infections in each of the last three days to go with a record 22,500 active cases, and doctors are now being briefed on patient triage protocols should they be required.

Alberta Health Services says in a statement that it’s exploring legal options after the No More Lockdowns Rodeo went ahead on Saturday despite warnings that it was illegal, and on a day that saw Alberta record 2,433 new cases.

In Quebec, a former hotbed of infections, authorities prepared to ease some public health measures in the Montreal and Quebec City areas.

The province announced last week that it would allow elementary school students in Quebec City to return to class on Monday while also pushing back the nighttime curfew in Montreal and neighbouring Laval to 9:30 p.m. following about two weeks of stable case counts.

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