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Justin Trudeau self-isolating after Sophie Grégoire Trudeau tests positive for COVID-19
March 13, 2020
Alex Ballingall

The deadly coronavirus pandemic is now affecting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s own home, where his wife is in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

Trudeau himself is now working from home, after the first ministers’ summit slated to begin Thursday in Ottawa was cancelled in the face of the pandemic.

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said Trudeau has no symptoms of illness and is choosing to self-isolate “out of an abundance of caution.”

The release said Sophie GrĂ©goire Trudeau started exhibiting “flu-like symptoms” late Wednesday night, after she recently returned from a speaking engagement in the United Kingdom. She “immediately sought medical advice”, but was feeling better Thursday morning, the PMO said.

Trudeau will also stay in isolation for 14 days. He will address Canadians about the outbreak Friday morning and his office says he plans to continue to carry out duties from isolation.

Gregoire was in London for a WE Day event on March 4, where she was a featured speaker. Trudeau’s mother, Margaret Trudeau, and daughter Ella-Grace were also travelling with the prime minister’s wife, according to her Instagram posts.

Trudeau took to social media to deliver the news himself, writing on Twitter that he is monitoring for any signs of illness while he awaits his wife’s COVID-19 test results.

“I’ll be busy working from home. Today, I‘ll be speaking with some world leaders and joining ministers for a cabinet committee discussion on COVID-19,” he wrote.

Moments after the stunning news that Trudeau and his wife are in self-isolation, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh revealed he, too, is “feeling unwell” and staying at home. In a post on Twitter, Singh said he has been in contact with a doctor and does not believe he has contracted COVID-19.

“But their advice is for me to limit contact with the public until I am feeling better,” he said.

“All of us come into contact with many people who may be vulnerable to illness -- we have to make sure we are taking measures to limit the chance that we infect them.”

Seamus O’Regan, the federal natural resources minister, is also self-isolating this week after attending an international mining conference in Toronto, where Ontario health officials confirmed a man from Sudbury contracted the virus in the first instance of transmission within the province. O’Regan wrote on Twitter Wednesday that he had “possible symptoms” after attending the conference, “which is why I was tested and then told to self-isolate.”

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather told the Star’s Susan Delacourt this week that he is also staying at home “out of an abundance of caution” after he attended a pro-Israeli policy conference in Washington, D.C., where attendees reportedly tested positive for the virus after leaving the event.

This week’s first ministers meeting, scheduled to take place in Ottawa, came as all levels of government grappled with the coronavirus outbreak that was declared a pandemic Wednesday by the World Health Organization. The spreading illness was expected to dominant discussions, as stock markets continued their downward spiral after an oil shock sent equities crashing Monday to their worst single-day drop since 1987.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the meeting between the premiers and Trudeau will be postponed, but that the prime minister will speak with his counterparts over the phone “to discuss our collective action to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep Canadians safe.”

“The prime minister will spend the day in briefings, phone calls, and virtual meetings from home, including speaking with other world leaders and joining the special COVID-19 cabinet committee discussion,” Trudeau’s office said.