Toronto threatens to impose stricter rules if we don't get better at social distancing
As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread across the city of Toronto, public health officials are emphasizing the need for social distancing now more than ever.
And if residents continue to disregard the current rules and recommendations, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa says stricter measures will have to be implemented.
Speaking at a press conference alongside Mayor John Tory, de Villa said extreme measures which have become commonplace in other cities will soon be the reality here in Toronto if people don't obey.
"These kinds of decisions are difficult to make and decisions to implement these kinds of measures are certainly based on evidence as well as many other factors and considerations," she said.
"Things like increasing COVID-19 cases and deaths, the extent to which the public is following recommendations and requirements for social distancing or physical distancing, and certainly, one of the major objectives is to ensure that our healthcare resources are protected and available for when we need them."
De Villa cited other Canadian cities such as Nova Scotia, Vancouver and Montreal, where police are fining residents up to $1,000 for not following social distancing rules.
She also referenced European cities that have enacted restrictions on leaving the home except for a weekly outing to get essential supplies.
"In Canada, community means a lot to us. And we are very, very fortunate to enjoy many civil liberties and freedoms," she said.
"If people do not follow these protective measures, then stronger ones — affecting our civil liberties — will be put in place to protect our city."
In the same press conference, Dr. de Villa announced that 25 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Toronto can now be attributed to community spread.
She also confirmed a total of 339 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto, up 31 from Wednesday. There have been four deaths linked to the virus in the city so far, and 22 people are currently hospitalized with it. To date, 13 people diagnosed with coronavirus in Toronto have recovered from the illness.
"Everyone in our city has a critical role in the direction that we go from here. I want to thank everybody who is protecting our city by staying home and practicing physical distancing," Dr. de Villa added.
"This truly is the most effective way to prevent the virus from spreading. Your families, your loved ones, your friends and your neighbours are depending on you to do the right thing. I ask you now to please continue the very responsible action of staying home. Please, stay home, stay safe and take care of each other."
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