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Ontario health officials say now is not the time to ease up on physical-distancing and self-quarantine

Ontario’s medical officials reported 151 new cases of COVID-19 today.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer said he is still surprised the number hasn’t jumped up to 200 or more as he predicted two days ago, nevertheless, he reiterated that this is no reason to ease down on physical distancing measures and self-quarantining if you have travelled or have symptoms.

Dr. David Williams stressed, “We’ll have to keep monitoring the situation as these one or two days does not tell us anything in trends.”

He also commented on the new measures announced by the Prime Minister this morning to restrict domestic travel for anyone showing symptoms of COVID 19, saying he is still unclear on the details relating to the implementation of the measure, but he will update as soon as he can.

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In response to a Vista reporter’s questions regarding the progress of vaccine research in Ontario and hydroxychloroquine being referred to by U.S. President Donald Trump as a possible treatment for COVID-19, Dr. Williams said he “heard many reports of preliminary concepts (of a vaccine) put forward using various techniques to produce the treatment and different methods to carry out the research but the federal government reports nothing imminent is seen, keeping in mind that in terms of vaccines imminent means 4 to 6 months away.”

He added, “We do hear promises of quick turnaround times but then none have undertaken clinical trials for safety and that’s always the key factor in developing a vaccine.”

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer confirmed there are ongoing studies on whether anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is a possible treatment for the novel coronavirus.  But, Dr. Barbara Yaffe says at this point there is no evidence that it works for COVID-19, it is an effective medication for other things like malaria in some cases, but it is not recommended at this point, as we await results on its studies.

*With files from Mo Fahim

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