OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says further discussions are needed with public health experts and members of the Trump administration before he can commit to attending a potential in-person meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) next month.
U.S. President Donald Trump is this year’s host for the G7 summit. Trump cancelled an in-person meeting in March as COVID-19 outbreak spread around the world.
“There’s no question that in-person meetings, in an ideal situation, are much more effective than even virtual meetings,” Trudeau said Wednesday. “However there are many questions to answer before we can commit to showing up in person.”
He made the comments less than a day after his party voted to defer normal House of Commons proceedings to September.
Trudeau said “very constructive” discussions are underway with American counterparts.
Watch: Visit to U.S. for G7 meeting possible but Trudeau remains cautious. Story continues below video.
“There are significant health preoccupations that we have around holding an in-person meeting,” Trudeau said, adding there are questions about the risk of COVID-19 transmission and whether or not he would have to go into self-isolation again upon his return.
“We will continue our discussions with Americans. And we will abide by public health recommendations,” he said.
Under the Quarantine Act, travellers must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada. Trudeau was previously in self-isolation for two weeks in March after his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for COVID-19. She has since recovered.
White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Tuesday the Trump administration has received “great reception” from world leaders about an in-person meeting in Washington.
“We will protect world leaders who come here, just like we protect people in the White House. So we want to see it happen, we think it will happen,” she said.
Trump previously mused on Twitter that having world leaders gather in Washington, D.C. would be a “be a great sign to all — normalization!” as countries look to rebuild their economies impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Repeating the president’s language, McEnany said there’s “no greater example of reopening on this transition to greatness” than the U.S. hosting an in-person G7 summit.
Trump previously downplayed the threat of the novel coronavirus in March, likening it to the common flu.
According to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University, outbreaks in the U.S. have led to more than 1.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 100,000 people’s deaths have been linked to the disease.