As of September 16, 2020, the Province of Quebec has 65,857 confirmed cases of the novel corona virus commonly referred to as COVID-19, of which 2,141 are considered “active” cases – a sharp increase from just three weeks ago.
Part of that increase, if media reports are to be believed, are directly attributable to Quebec City’s Bar Kirouac, a popular karaoke bar.
“We’re pretty sure that three positive cases, namely children, got the virus from somebody who was celebrating something at this bar,” said Dr. Jacques Girard, head of the Quebec City public health authority.
Giarard’s team says they have traced 10 secondary cases of COVID-19 back to Bar Kirouac. Forty people were linked to a karaoke night at Bar Kirouac on August 23rd, and it’s believed some of these patrons refused to remain in self-isolation until test results came back.
According to a CBC news report, after these patrons were infected at Bar Kirouac, at least two of them went to another karaoke bar – La Gamelle – despite knowing they could test positive for the virus.
“I find it a little dishonest of them,” said Geneviève Tremblay, La Gamelle’s co-owner. “They should have stayed at home as required by the government.”
On September 2, 2020, Dr. Jacques Girard, whose powers are vastly increased during any public health emergency, issued public health orders to force two “uncooperative” individuals into quarantine at an undisclosed location.
Reporter: Where exactly are they isolated?
Dr. Jacques Girard: It is not at home. It depends on the person because we have had people isolated at home and then we saw the person was not at home. So, we went to their home and then told them, ‘we are isolating you where we want you to be’.
It’s eerily reminiscent of Dr. Theresa Tam’s statements in the 2010 National Film Board production Outbreak.
“If there are people who are non-compliant, there are definitely laws and public health powers that can quarantine people in mandatory settings. Potentially you could track people, put bracelets on their arms, have police and other setups to ensure quarantine is undertaken.”
A challenging aspect to this forced quarantine is that no government official is claiming either of these two individuals have contracted the corona virus – but they’re using the coercive power of the state to force these mere citizens into isolation anyway.
Where Do We Draw The Line?
Is there a line between individual liberty and public safety, aka the collective good?
Should there be a line between the two?
I maintain my right to do as I please ends at your right not to be impacted by my actions. It’s basic libertarian philosophy at its core, and it’s also where the government gets its right to quarantine people against their will.
Chairman Mao said all political power flows from the barrel of a government gun.
He’s right. And as much as I despise the notion of government agents removing mere citizens from their homes under threat of being shot, (because ultimately physical coercion is the only power any government agent has) I think the answer is yes.
There are times when the government must act in the best interests of society, even when that means violating the rights of an individual.
We send HIV-positive men to prison after they refused to inform their sexual partners prior to intercourse, so why not temporarily lock down people who refuse to use the common sense God gave a gnat during COVID?
Do I agree with all the lockdown measures implemented by governments at all levels?
No, not by a long shot, but I’m also not personally affected by them much, either.
I’m an introvert by nature and a writer by trade.
I didn’t like leaving the house before the pandemic hit, so being told I shouldn’t leave my house now is a pretty meaningless statement.
I had little intention of leaving anyway.