A holiday gift from the government to you.
Our nostrils are tingling. The government confirmed Tuesday that Quebecers will be able to claim free rapid COVID-19 tests at one of more than 1,900 pharmacies across the province.
Daniel Paré, the government official responsible for pandemic management, made the announcement. He said the rollout of the tests would begin on Monday, December 20 and that they'll be widely available "in the coming weeks" if all goes according to plan.
Individuals will be able to claim five free tests in a period of 30 days so long as supplies last, Paré explained. In a press release, the Ministry of Health said the tests will be free until March 31.
In total, Quebec plans on getting 10 million rapid tests in December.
Quebec elementary and preschool students are also set to receive a bag of five rapid tests each.
The distribution of tests comes as the province braces for the possible impact of the Omicron variant.
"With the arrival of the Omicron variant and the current increase in cases, it is necessary to take all possible steps to prevent outbreaks during the holiday season," Health Minister Christian Dubé said in the press release.
"Among these measures, the distribution of rapid tests is an excellent means of control, which will give each citizen some autonomy in the management of the virus."
Also on Tuesday, Minister Dubé asked employers in the province to once again favour telework, starting immediately, to limit contacts and the potential spread of Omicron.
Quebec reported 1,747 new COVID-19 cases on December 14 — the 14th consecutive day where there were more than 1,000 new cases.
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