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Justin Trudeau and Doug Ford Attended a Conference With a Coronavirus Case

Days after attending the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention, Trudeau announced $1 billion in COVID-19 funding.
March 11, 2020, 2:44pm
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was at one of Canada's major annual mining conventions in Toronto at the same time as a man who tested positive for COVID-19. Nathan Denette (CP)

Two of Canada’s top politicians attended a mining conference that is now linked to a positive COVID-19 case.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford were both present at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada event. Following the convention's conclusion, one guest was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

The man, who is in his 50s, became the first patient in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts to test positive for the virus. He’s one of 37 patients in Ontario who have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.

Convention organizers said they're working closely with Toronto Public Health and Public Health Sudbury to monitor the situation.

Health officials say the patient was discharged by a Sudbury hospital after testing and remains in self-isolation, according to CTV News.

Canada’s top health official, Theresa Tam, said that the person who was infected at the mining conference only showed “minor symptoms.”

“It is very important that anyone who participates in a conference where someone was affected really monitors their symptoms,” Tam said, including prominent officials who attended the conference.

Both Trudeau and Ford have said they feel healthy.

“I haven’t had a test,” Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday morning. “I am following Dr. Tam’s recommendations in order to keep myself safe and my family as well.”

In a statement to VICE, Ivana Yelich, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Premier said, “Premier Ford is in good health and has experienced none of the symptoms related to COVID-19.”

Despite ongoing calls for ill people to take sick days, Ontario Premier Doug Ford is refusing to increase the number of government-mandated sick days in the province. When asked if Ford’s close close call with COVID-19 will change his perspective on sick days, Yelich said employers “have the option to require reasonable proof of the circumstances that entitle the employee to leave.”

Early Wednesday morning, Trudeau announced more than $1 billion dollars in funding to combat COVID-19 in Canada, including $50 million for personal protective equipment and $500 million to support provinces and territories.

Trudeau said Ottawa is also working hard to mitigate economic hits associated with the coronavirus, including those experienced by the tourism sector.

“We’ve put forward measures to support workers, businesses, provinces,” Trudeau said. “We know there is much that we can do now and we’re doing it.”

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