Some COVID-positive essential workers to continue working in Canada's Quebec -minister

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A new extension of the National Research Council of Canada building is seen under construction in Montreal

(Reuters) - Quebec, the second most populous Canadian province, has "no choice" but to allow some essential workers to continue working even after testing positive for COVID-19 to prevent staff shortages from impeding its healthcare services, Health Minister Christian Dube said Tuesday.

Quebec, which has been setting daily records since the Omicron variant started a new wave of rapidly rising infections, recorded 12,833 new cases on Monday - the highest one-day count of any region in Canada during the pandemic.

"Omicron's contagion is so exponential, that a huge number of personnel have to be withdrawn - and that poses a risk to the network capacity to treat Quebecers," Dube told reporters at a briefing.

"We made the decision that under a certain condition positive staff will be able to continue working according to a list of priority and risk management," he said, adding that more information would be provided in the coming days.

Dube said Quebec would also offer a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone above the age of 18 from Jan. 4.

Last week, Quebec ordered bars, gyms and casinos to shut and directed people to work only from home. It also limited the size of gatherings at private homes and restaurants to six people.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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