Ford government announces reduced budget, Ontario sees 32 new cases of coronavirus

The Ford government announced a reduced budget would be released in late March instead of a full one due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips said instead of releasing a full budget on March 25, the government will be releasing a reduced economic and fiscal update based on the “current” situation with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phillips said the one-year outlook will be “realistic” based on what is happening in the province at the moment.

Premier Doug Ford says there are some “rough waters ahead,” but the government is prepared to do whatever it takes to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The province over the weekend announced it is drafting legislation to ban employers from requiring sick notes for those in self-isolation or quarantine.

It will also ensure protected leave for workers who have to take unpaid leave to isolate themselves or care for others, such as children not in school.

Ontario reported 32 new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the new provincial active case total to 172.

Of the total 177 cases, five have been resolved.

Health officials report 1537 cases are under investigation, 8464 have come back with a negative result.

All the new cases are said to be in self-isolation. Eleven are from Toronto, three from Ottawa, five in York Region, four from Hamilton, four from Peel Region, one from Niagara, one from Durham, one from Halton Region, one from Sudbury and one from the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph area.

Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk for Canadians is low.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

–With files from The Canadian Press

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