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No more in-person press conferences during COVID-19 pandemic: HRM

The Halifax Regional Municipality is updating its social distancing protocols as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Alexander Quon/Global News

In its latest commitment to promote social distancing, the Halifax Regional Municipality has barred journalists from attending its pandemic planning updates.

Effective immediately, all municipal updates on the novel coronavirus will be livestreamed on YouTube, reads a statement from its communications team released on Thursday.

The municipality is taking media questions by email and has committed to examining phone-in options for reporters.

READ MORE: HRM won’t rule out state of emergency declaration as COVID-19 cases rise

The Halifax Regional Municipality is following cues from the provincial government as it responds to the crisis, shuttering customer service desks, restricting public transit and encouraging employees to work from home.

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But essential services, including fire, police, waste removal and 311, all remain in place.

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On Wednesday it told reporters that it isn’t prepared to declare a local state of emergency, but wouldn’t rule the option out as COVID-19 sweeps through the province.

“The state of emergency is something we’re always considering as I think all governments are across the country and around the world,” said Mayor Mike Savage.

As of Thursday afternoon, there are 14 cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia — five confirmed and nine presumptive.

READ MORE: NSLC goes cashless, limits customer numbers amid COVID-19

The two new cases are both travel-related, according to a statement from the Department of Health and Wellness.

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The province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, has previously said he will not reveal the locations of the cases, to discourage residents from thinking the virus is elsewhere and they don’t need to take precautions.

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