Coronavirus: Toronto will use a ‘phased approach’ in reopening city, Mayor John Tory says

Coronavirus outbreak: Toronto is expected to see more COVID-19 cases as testing expands
WATCH ABOVE: Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, said Friday that Ontario’s plan to expand COVID-19 testing is now underway.

Toronto’s mayor says he has begun mapping out how to ease coronavirus-related restrictions, adding that there will be a “phased approach” once COVID-19 cases subside.

John Tory said the city is “not there yet” and “very much still waging war against the virus,” but he said he and other municipal officials have begun to plan what needs to be done in order to restart the city so that it will be communicated ahead of time.

“This morning, I met with senior City officials to talk about how we would safely restart the city and what has to go into what will be a very careful plan,” Tory said in a statement Saturday.

READ MORE: Coronavirus could cost City of Toronto at least $1.5B, mayor says

“When exactly we restart the city depends on each and every one of us.”

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Tory said physical distancing remains vital in shortening the impact of the pandemic.

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“Throughout this emergency, we have followed the advice of our public health professionals. We agreed today that this advice will very much guide our restart planning work,” Tory said.

“We also agreed that there is no ‘on/off switch’ – the plan will have to take a phased approach.”

Tory didn’t provide specific details with regards to what the phases will entail.

Elsewhere in the world, governments have been taking phased approaches to easing COVID-19-related restrictions.

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump outlined a three-phase plan to reopen areas of the country when there is a decline in infections and strong testing.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Tory launched the Mayor’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force, and he said the ongoing work on that task force will be “crucial” to the reopening plan.

READ MORE: Ontario coronavirus cases surpass 10K as 485 new cases reported

“Toronto is the economic engine of Canada. Any hope of rebuilding Ontario and Canada’s economy rests heavily on Toronto’s economy successfully restarting and strongly recovering,” Tory said.

“We know our residents are counting on us along with residents across the province and the country.”

Meanwhile, Ontario surpassed 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday after reporting 485 new cases. Thirty-six deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 514.

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