Coronavirus: Provinces say fines, arrests face people who don’t distance, self-isolate

After a week of strong urging from governments that people should keep apart to prevent the spread of COVID-19, provincial leaders — and their police forces — have stopped asking politely.

On Friday, provincial police in Ontario warned that people will face fines for violating orders to close certain businesses and to limit gatherings. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe suggested citizens who know of anyone not self-isolating after returning from international travel should call police.

In Quebec City, police arrested a woman Friday who was infected with the virus and who was walking around outside after being mandated to stay indoors. The arrest was the first time Quebec City’s public health director issued an order to police under emergency powers granted after Premier François Legault declared a public health emergency March 14.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s public health director, told reporters Saturday that regional health directors across the province “will have no problem” ordering police to make arrests and ensure people carrying the virus are isolated.

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