The Canadian province of Quebec, struggling to control the Omicron variant, will impose a new health tax in the coming weeks on those who are not vaccinated against Covid-19.
“We are working on a health contribution for all the adults who are refusing to get vaccinated” because they represent a “financial burden for all Quebecois,” said Quebec Premier Francois Legault.
The 10% of Quebecois who have not yet received any vaccine doses must not “harm” the 90% who have, he said.
“It is not on all Quebecois to pay for that,” he said during a press conference, specifying that the government of the French-speaking province wanted the tax to represent a “significant amount”.
“I feel this discontent with regard to the unvaccinated minority which, all things considered, clogs our hospitals,” he said.
The Quebec premier explained that these 10% of unvaccinated adults represent 50% of people in intensive care, calling it a “shocking” situation.
He said that those who are unvaccinated for medical reasons will be exempt from the move.
In an attempt to stem the new wave, Quebec announced on Dec 30 the return of certain restrictions, including a 10pm curfew and a ban on private gatherings.
In total, 2,742 people with Covid are hospitalised and some 255 people are in intensive care in Quebec, which has about eight million inhabitants.
Hospitalisations also continue to increase in neighbouring province Ontario, the most populous in Canada, with 3,220 people hospitalized and 477 people in intensive care.