Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has tested positive for the new coronavirus and the couple are isolating themselves for at least 14 days.
The Prime Minister’s Office said late Thursday that Ms. Grégoire Trudeau was feeling well and will remain in isolation for the time being. Mr. Trudeau will self-isolate for 14 days and his office said he would continue to fully assume his duties. He is exhibiting no symptoms, his office said.
Based on doctor’s advice, Mr. Trudeau can continue daily activities and he spent the day in briefings, a statement from deputy director of communications Chantal Gagnon said. He is not being tested for the virus at this time.
An official in the Prime Minister’s Office said the couple’s children are also in isolation.
Ms. Grégoire Trudeau began exhibiting mild flu-like symptoms, including a low fever, on Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau’s office said.
The announcement from the PMO was met with well wishes across party lines.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer posted a statement on Twitter wishing Ms. Grégoire Trudeau a speedy recovery.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he sends well wishes to Ms. Grégoire Trudeau and hopes for a quick recovery. He also said he wished good health for the Prime Minister and his family.
Very sorry to hear that Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Jill and I wish her a speedy recovery. We’re thinking of her and her family at this difficult time.— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) March 13, 2020
“I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who have reached out to me asking how I’m doing,” Ms. Grégoire Trudeau said in a statement. “Although I’m experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of the virus, I will be back on my feet soon.”
The rapidly evolving pandemic gripped Parliament Hill on Thursday, forcing Mr. Trudeau to cancel in-person meetings in Ottawa with the premiers and Indigenous leaders in favour of virtual meetings, and MPs and senators discussed suspending the houses of Parliament.
Other parliamentarians, including International Trade Minister Mary Ng and Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan, are also in self-isolation out of precaution. Some Conservative leadership candidates have cancelled their public events.
The Prime Minister will have meetings over the phone with premiers and Indigenous leaders on Friday.
Mr. Trudeau’s discussions Thursday included speaking with U.S. President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. All of those discussions centred on COVID-19, his office said, and Mr. Trudeau also called into the special cabinet committee meeting on the disease.
A brief summary of Mr. Trudeau’s call with Mr. Trump said the two leaders “welcomed the close co-ordination between Canada and the United States in managing this challenge, including as it relates to the Canada-U.S. border.”
The Prime Minister’s Office said in Mr. Trudeau’s call with the Italian leader, he “expressed solidarity with Prime Minister Conte and all Italians as they take extraordinary measures to contain and respond to COVID-19’s health, social, and economic impacts.”
“They agreed on the importance of international co-ordination in response to the virus,” the statement said.
Nothing will necessarily change in government if the Prime Minister does get sick, Lori Turnbull, director of the school of public administration at Dalhousie University, said Thursday.
However, if Mr. Trudeau became incapacitated, Prof. Turnbull said, it wouldn’t lead to a power vacuum because there are mechanisms in place to ensure the continuity of government. She called it a “rare, if ever” used process where cabinet would appoint an acting prime minister.
Given Chrystia Freeland’s role as Deputy Prime Minister, she said, Ms. Freeland would be the likely candidate.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Thursday he is self-isolating because he feels unwell. On a doctor’s advice, he is limiting his contact with the public until he feels better, but the doctor does not believe his symptoms are consistent with COVID-19, he said.
As of Thursday evening, MPs and senators were discussing a possible suspension of the legislative sitting.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu recommended avoiding large gatherings. Conservative leadership candidates have been organizing events across the country as they race to raise money and attract new supporters. The candidates have taken varying approaches to their campaigns.
Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay suspended all public campaign events Thursday and Erin O’Toole said he would cancel all of his as of Friday. Other candidates are forging ahead. MP Marilyn Gladu’s campaign has not cancelled any events, but said it would reassess that decision on a daily basis.
Governor-General Julie Payette’s office said “out of an abundance of caution” it is limiting public events and activities and is looking at rescheduling ceremonies.
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