The Canadian province of Quebec has scrapped a plan to tax adults who refuse the Covid vaccine. French Premier Francois Legault ruled out the idea on Tuesday, saying it would be too divisive.
Legault announced last month that adults who refuse vaccinations would make a special contribution to their health. According to him, those who choose to avoid vaccinations should contribute to covering the extra costs imposed on the health system by Coronavirus. According to experts, this idea would undermine Canada’s universal public health system.
Legault is concerned about the divisions that COVID-19 and the measures to combat it has caused in Quebec, the second-most populous province of the 10 provinces. ‘My role is to try to bring Quebecers together to stay united. This is why we won’t go ahead with the health contribution,’ he told reporters. ‘I understand that this divides Quebecers and right now we need to build bridges’.
Canada’s two largest provinces, Quebec and Ontario, which together account for around 61% of the total population, are starting to relax restrictions amid signs that Omicron has peaked. However, experts in Ontario said Tuesday that this would mean an increase in infections and hospitalizations linked to the variant. Ontario removed some restrictions on businesses on Monday, allowing restaurants, malls, and cinemas to operate with a 50% capacity. The province plans to further relax curbs in February and March.
According to a report by the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, Omicron infections had peaked around Jan. 11, but easing the restrictions would increase the spread of COVID-19′. The panel concluded that ‘hospitalizations will peak after reopening on January 31, and they will remain elevated for a prolonged period’. A spokesperson for Ontario’s health minister said the province has sufficient hospital capacity to meet the panel’s projections.