POLITICS
03/12/2020 12:05 EDT | Updated 03/13/2020 01:27 EDT

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau Tests Positive For Coronavirus, Prime Minister In Self-Isolation

Justin Trudeau’s wife had a “low fever” Wednesday after returning from the U.K.

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in self-isolation as his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Grégoire Trudeau had recently returned from a speaking engagement in London, U.K. when she began “exhibiting mild flu-like symptoms including a low fever late last night,” according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Thursday. 

She remains in isolation for the time being, and is “feeling well ... and her symptoms remain mild.”

The prime minister is in “good health” and exhibiting no symptoms, said the PMO. Following doctors’ advice, Trudeau will be in isolation for 14 days but will not be tested at this time since he has no symptoms. Doctors say there is no risk to those who have been in contact with him recently, the statement said. 

Trudeau tweeted that he is currently “feeling fine” and will continue to work from home for the time being.

The evening statement from the PMO confirming the positive test result included a personal message from Grégoire Trudeau. 

“Although I’m experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of the virus, I will be back on my feet soon. Being in quarantine at home is nothing compared to other Canadian families who might be going through this and for those facing more serious health concerns,” she said. 

Patrick Doyle / Reuters
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau leave Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Sept. 11, 2019. 

High-level, in-person meetings involving the prime minister were cancelled Thursday and Friday. Trudeau was scheduled to meet with premiers and Indigenous leaders, but those meetings were postponed. The prime minister said that he had been looking forward to the first ministers meeting.

Grégoire Trudeau was in London to speak at a WE Day event last week, the PMO confirmed to HuffPost Canada. Thousands of people attended the youth empowerment event at SSE Arena. Celebrity speakers included Grégoire Trudeau, the prime minister’s mother Margaret Trudeau, actor Idris Elba, and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

The couple’s daughter Ella-Grace, 11, also accompanied her mother and grandmother to the U.K. event. A Canadian government official said the three Trudeau children stayed home Thursday but did not clarify if they were following any isolation procedures.

“Health professionals will reach out to those who have been in contact with Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau as they deem necessary,” said the PMO. 

COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is characterized by coughing, fever, and shortness of breath though symptoms may not appear until 14 days after exposure. Due to its geographic spread, it was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on Wednesday.

The virus, which originated in China, has infected more than 113,000 people worldwide and killed more than 4,000, according to the WHO, but a large majority have recovered. As of March 12, there have been at least 138 confirmed cases in Canada, with one death at a B.C. care home.

Trudeau is not the only federal party leader in self-isolation. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted Thursday that he’s feeling “unwell” and is staying home as a precaution.

Two cabinet ministers have also opted to err on the side of caution and stay home. Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan tweeted Tuesday that he feels “fine” but is working from home while he has a persistent cough checked out.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng said she was tested for COVID-19 after her asthma began acting up. Following the advice of doctors, she will work from home for the time being, she said.

Trudeau’s decision to self-isolate comes a day after he told reporters he hasn’t been tested for the COVID-19 virus. He told reporters he’s following recommendations from the chief public health officer.

“I myself have been modifying my schedule in order to adapt travel plans so that I’m not interfering with any work that’s being done on the ground,” the prime minister said in French. 

The federal government pledged $1 billion Wednesday to help provinces and territories respond to COVID-19. 

Half of the money is earmarked to help those governments directly, while the other half is to fund research and vaccine development and increasing preparedness in First Nations and Inuit communities.

The government said it will also waive a one-week waiting period for employment insurance benefits.

“No-one should have to worry about their job if they have to be quarantined,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa on the negative impacts of COVID-19. “No employer should feel like they have to lay off a worker because of the virus.”

With a file from Sima Shakeri

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