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Ottawa, Mar 17 (Canadian-Media): In an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 and to safeguard its health-care system, a state of emergency has been declared Tuesday in Ontario jointly by its premier Doug Ford, joined by Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, Health Minister Christine Elliott, Finance Minister Rod Phillips and Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer, in a news conference at Queen's Park, Ontario.
Doug Ford. Image credit: Twitter handle
Empowered by the legislation of Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, Ford ordered closure of restaurants and bars excepting takeouts, prohibits gatherings of more than 50 people, including at indoor recreation centres, theatres and concert venues, libraries, places of worship, private schools and daycares until March 31.
Ontario had earlier ordered all all publicly funded schools to close until April 6.
Public transit, shopping malls, grocery stores and pharmacies, that vast majority of businesses, including those most vital to day-to-day life, will not be affected
The emergency relief fund for the "first stage" of a COVID-19, was announced by Ford during the conference, amounting to about $300 million will be used to add 75 critical-care beds and 500 post-acute care beds at Ontario hospitals, establishing 25 more COVID-19 dedicated assessment centres in the province, purchase of more personal protective equipment for medical professionals.
Ford's announcement also included backfill 1,000 additional nurses and personal support workers at hospitals, assigning fifty physicians for primary and emergency care in Indigenous, rural and remote communities in Ontario.
Ontario's confirmed 185 cases of COVID-19 as of this morning are spread geographically throughout the province with the majority in the Greater Toronto Area
Welcoming decision to declare a state of emergency, Toronto Mayor John Tory asked people to heed to the advice of public health experts to avoid interactions with others to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 pandemic.