Some clarifications on containment

The fine methods of confinement seem to have created some confusion among the population, judging by the large volume of questions we receive on this subject. Can people in X or Y situation go out for a walk? Should we postpone medical appointments? Can grandparents keep their grandchildren if no one has symptoms? Here are some clarifications, in bulk.
Q: “Some people argue loudly that even walking and running should be banned on streets where the sidewalks are too narrow to respect the rules of 2m distance. Others go so far as to claim that the virus circulates in the air. So can we go out jogging without risk of being contaminated or contaminating others? ”Asks David Valentine of Montreal.

A: Yes, walking and running outdoors are allowed for people who are not in compulsory confinement, I am confirmed at the Institut de la santé publique du Québec (INSPQ). It goes without saying that we cannot do it in large groups and that the 2-meter rule applies, even if it means walking / running a short distance down the street. The INSPQ recommends washing your hands when you return.

However, walking, running and any outdoor activity is strictly prohibited for people who have flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, sneezing), those who have COVID-19 or who are awaiting their test result and those returning from travel. Those must respect their 14-day quarantine and not go out “under any circumstances”, insists the Institute.

Finally, regarding the spread of the virus by air, see this response from colleague Valérie Borde .

Q: “Should we postpone our annual medical exam because of the pandemic or can we get there as usual?” Asks Pierre Chartrand of Ottawa.

A: In general, yes, any non-urgent appointment should be postponed, whether it be at the doctor, the dentist, the optometrist or other health professionals, replies the INSPQ.

Now, of course, there are consultations which, without being “urgent” properly speaking, are difficult to postpone – for example pregnancy follow-ups, follow-ups of young children aged 0-2 years and mental health problems. “Telecare” (by Skype or other similar applications) and consultations by phone should be prioritized, but sometimes this is not possible, for one reason or another. The decision to maintain the appointment in person must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the doctor and the healthcare team.

Q: “Can grandparents under 70 years old keep a grandchild (under 2 years old) for one or two nights if no one returns from the trip and if neither the child nor the parents, neither grandparents show symptoms? Obviously, we would observe the rules of distancing between adults when the child is transferred, ”asks Vincent Campbell Allaire, of Montreal.

A: It is * recommended * not to come into close contact – less than 2 meters, spend several days together – with people who do not live under the same roof as us, all ages, recalls the INSPQ. Unlike 14-day confinement for people who are suspected or have COVID-19 (see categories in the first question), this is a recommendation, not a legal requirement. But still, try to avoid it as much as possible.

If the grandparents really need to babysit, then ideally they should be under the age of 70. And we must try to respect the distancing measures not only between adults during the transfer of the child, but also with the child or children during custody – even if, we agree, this can be very difficult. Everyone should wash their hands regularly, as well as frequently touched surfaces and objects (toys, door handles, etc.).


COVID-19 raises a lot of questions. In order to respond to as many people as possible, science journalists have decided to join forces. The media members of the National Cooperative of Independent Information ( Le Soleil, Le Droit, La Tribune, Le Nouvelliste, Le Quotidien and La Voix de l’Est ), Québec Science and the Center Déclic team up to answer your questions . You have some? Write to us . This project is made possible thanks to a contribution from the Chief Scientist of Quebec , who invites you to follow him on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram .

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