It’s confirmed. Sophie Gregroire Trudeau, the wife of the Prime Minister, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is under quarantine. The Prime Minister’s Office says she is feeling well and her symptoms remain mild. At the moment, Prime Minister Trudeau is in good health with no symptoms. He remains in self-isolation for the next two weeks. Gregoire Trudeau says although she’s experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of COVID-19, she’ll be back on her feet soon. She says “we will get through this situation together.” It’s believed she contracted the virus on a recent trip to the U.K. for London’s “We Day”. To watch a Global News piece on this story: CLICK HERE (You will be redirected)
I have some additional news to share this evening. Unfortunately, the results of Sophie’s COVID-19 test are positive. Therefore, she will be in quarantine for the time being. Her symptoms remain mild and she is taking care of herself and following the advice of our doctor.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 13, 2020
Today is the final day of school before March Break. And this year it is extended. Premier Ford has announced that Ontario is closing all publicly funded schools for two weeks following March break amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It came as the province announced 17 new confirmed cases — its biggest surge to date — bringing the total to 59. The decision to close schools from March 14th to April 5th is based on advice from Ontario’s chief medical officer of health. Chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams said that he was concerned both with the likelihood of many children travelling over March break, and the fact that two of the new cases Ontario announced yesterday were in people under the age of 18. One is a baby.
Based on latest available advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, and the experts at the #COVID19 Command Table, our government has directed all publicly funded schools in Ontario to close for 2 weeks following March break.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) March 12, 2020
Across Canada: B.C. and Alberta have implemented travel bans. Anyone from those provinces who leaves the country will be asked to observe a two week period of self isolation. This, after a second facility for the elderly in the Vancouver area produced two positive tests for COVID-19 — a resident and a worker. B.C. announced enhanced screening at long-term facilities on Wednesday. Alberta’s chief medical officer is urging all events with more than 250 people be cancelled to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says schools and daycares can stay open for now as long as they ensure there aren’t 250 or more in the same room at any time. The recommended ban does not extend to places of worship, grocery stores, airports or shopping centres. New Brunswick now has its first confirmed case of COVID-19. The woman remains in isolation in her home.
On the markets: The TSX plummeted 12.34 per cent yesterday. The Dow Jones dropped 9.99 per cent. The Nasdaq fell 9.43 per cent. Our dollar is taking a huge hit too. The Loonie is trading overseas this morning at 72.19 cents U.S. The Bank of Canada says in an effort to support the “continuous functioning of financial markets,” it is providing $7-billion-dollars to the country’s banking system and expanding its bond buy-back program. Another interest rate cut is also expended in the near future.
International: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she and the Trump administration are close to an agreement on a coronavirus aid package. Negotiators are trying to hammer out a deal to provide funding and resources for American workers, families and businesses reeling with health and financial problems amid the crisis. Pelosi expects an announcement later today. Once there’s an agreement in place, the House could swiftly vote on the aid package.
Meanwhile, China and South Korea are implementing measures to prevent COVID-19’s return. Everyone arriving in Beijing must be quarantined for 14 days. South Korea is screening arriving passengers from more countries as the number of cases rises across Europe. Both countries have seen a decline in new infections, with China reporting just eight and South Korea 110 today. China has begun evacuating its citizens from Iran.
Jury Duty: Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice has suspended jury duty for upcoming criminal and civil trials until further notice. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Doug Downey said yesterday the step has been taken as a precaution to keep the public, court users and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of the Attorney General says anyone who has received a summons for jury duty for an upcoming trial should not attend court. The ministry says jury trials that are already underway will continue.
Parliament: Canadian Members of Parliament will consider today whether to take the unprecedented move of suspending Parliament because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the House of Commons administration committee could not agree yesterday on what measures to take. The Commons is sitting today before a planned one-week break, but discussions are underway about whether that break should be extended. Two other cabinet ministers remain isolated with flu and cold-like symptoms and are waiting for test results for the novel coronavirus. Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the federal budget will be tabled on March 30 as planned.
Pets: Experts say animal lovers infected with the novel coronavirus should be careful about how they handle their pets. This follows a dog being diagnosed with a weak positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong. Professor Scott Weese of the University of Guelph’s veterinary college says it’s not surprising to see an animal infected. Authorities in Hong Kong say pet cats and dogs cannot pass COVID-19 on to humans, but they can catch it from their owners.
Waterloo Region: Yesterday we learned that there are two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region. One is a woman, in her 60’s who recently took a Celebrity Cruise to the Caribbean. She developed symptoms after she returned on Sunday. The other new case is a man in his 40’s who recently traveled to Las Vegas. He too was asymptomatic during travel and developed symptoms after returning from his trip. Both cases are now self-isolating at home, and being monitored by the public health department.
— Region of Waterloo Public Health (@ROWPublicHealth) March 12, 2020
Drayton Entertainment has cancelled all remaining performances of A Few Good Men (St. Jacobs Country Playhouse) and Kinky Boots (Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge) as well as its upcoming production of Billy Bishop Goes to War at the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre in an effort to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19. This schedule change is effective immediately and will impact performances through Sunday, May 3.
Western University says classes from Friday until Tuesday will be cancelled, and any exams during that time will be rescheduled. The university also says that — as of Wednesday — classes will be online through to the end of term. Laurentian in Sudbury has implemented a similar policy.
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