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COVID-19 variants, case numbers make reopening Toronto risky: de Villa

Click to play video: 'Toronto’s top doctor says reopening not in the cards for the city due to COVID-19 variants' Toronto’s top doctor says reopening not in the cards for the city due to COVID-19 variants
WATCH ABOVE: While some areas of the province will see restrictions begin to ease, Toronto will not. The government has a date in mind for when that could change, but Dr. Eileen de Villa says setting a hard timeline is not possible with the current threat of COVID-19 variants. Matthew Bingley reports. – Feb 8, 2021

Toronto’s top doctor says now is not the time to prepare to ease pandemic restrictions in the city.

Dr. Eileen De Villa says the concerning presence of new, more infectious variants of COVID-19 signals a transition to a “new pandemic.”

She says it’s likely that cases will increase when restrictions are loosened, particularly if the variants become the dominant strains.

Read more: Ontario begins phased reopening Wednesday, majority of regions to remain in lockdown

Her comments come as the Ontario government says a stay-at-home order for Toronto and two neighbouring hot spots will lift on Feb. 22.

The province is letting a state of emergency expire as scheduled on Tuesday and will gradually transition regions back to its colour-coded restrictions system.

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Toronto, Peel Region and York Region will be the last to be moved to the system this month, although the province has said an increase in cases could change that plan.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Mayor Tory supports Ford’s decision to delay Toronto reopening' Coronavirus: Mayor Tory supports Ford’s decision to delay Toronto reopening
Coronavirus: Mayor Tory supports Ford’s decision to delay Toronto reopening – Feb 8, 2021

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