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Ontario Premier Doug Ford arrives at a news conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, on Nov. 3, 2020.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Premier Doug Ford is defending Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions system, saying it will help the province respond early to flare ups of the virus.

The province introduced the new colour-coded system yesterday and said it would help fight the pandemic at a regional level.

Health care experts say the new system is too lenient and will lead to further community spread of the virus.

Ford dismissed the criticism today and questioned whether those observers have looked closely at the details of the new system.

He says the new system is about striking a balance between the needs of communities to reopen and protecting people from the virus.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she is concerned that Ford is not listening to health experts and asked the government to outline how it came up with the new strategy.

Ontario is reporting 987 new COVID-19 cases today and 16 new deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

That brings the provincial total to 79,692 cases, which includes 3,182 deaths and 68,189 cases considered resolved.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 319 of the cases recorded today are in Toronto, 299 are in Peel Region, 85 in York Region and 62 in Durham Region.

The province says it completed nearly 28,600 tests since the last daily report.

Countries around the world are working on a coronavirus vaccine, including right here in Canada. Globe and Mail science reporter Ivan Semeniuk discussed the timeline and challenges in developing COVID-19 vaccines during a Facebook live.

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