Analysis: Latest COVID-19 figures linked to Montreal bars do not add up

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After withholding the figures on COVID-19 cases linked to the bars of Montreal last week, Quebec public health authorities on Monday released a new set of statistics that unfortunately raised more questions than answers.

The government has confirmed that 113 people who frequent the city’s drinking places have tested positive for the coronavirus. Of this number, 65 cases have been attributed to outbreaks in three locations: Bar Minéral on rue Atateken, Nacho Libre on rue Beaubien Est and Bar Renard on rue Ste-Catherine E.

Officials are also examining whether eight people who contracted COVID-19 did so in a fourth location.

Now consider for a moment what Seoul, the South Korean capital of 9.8 million people, did in early April when it discovered that two bar workers had contracted the coronavirus. The mayor has closed more than 400 bars, nightclubs and discos.

South Korea, which has received universal praise for its careful handling of the pandemic, has so far reported 13,771 cases and 296 deaths. Quebec, by comparison, has so far counted 57,616 cases and 5,657 deaths.

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