Canada PM Trudeau says tests positive for Covid-19
OTTAWA — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he has tested positive for Covid-19, while calling out truckers protesting against vaccine mandates.
“I feel well and have no symptoms,” the 50-year-old premier told a news conference.
Trudeau had announced last week he was isolating after being exposed to the coronavirus. Two of his three children have also since tested positive, he said.
Trudeau, who received his third dose of the Covid vaccine in January, urged Canadians to get vaccinated and boosted, as the nation battles a rise in cases and hospitalizations due to the Omicron variant.
He will not be physically present for the return of parliament on Monday after a winter break, saying he would be “working remotely this week and keep following public health guidelines.”
Outside parliament, a mass protest led by Canadian truckers opposed to vaccine mandates for crossing the Canada-US border continued for a third day.
The demonstration was much smaller than on the weekend when some 8,000 protestors, according to police, converged on the capital with horns blaring, clogging downtown streets and forcing closures of stores, schools and Covid vaccine clinics.
Trudeau defended the vaccination mandate, noting that 90 percent of drivers are already vaccinated.
“It is not by demonstrating against the pandemic but by getting vaccinated” that Canada will end public health restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, he said.
The prime minister also condemned the actions of some protestors over the weekend, when demonstrators had propagated racist messages and flown Nazi flags, as well as danced and urinated on the National War Memorial. Some also reportedly forced a local soup kitchen to serve them meals intended for the homeless.
“We are not intimidated by those who hurl insults and abuse at small business workers and steal food from the homeless,” Trudeau said.
“We won’t give in to those who fly racist flags. We won’t cave to those who engage in vandalism or dishonor the memory of our veterans.”
Police have opened several criminal investigations into alleged threats and intimidation by protestors.
On Monday, a truck collided with a police barrier blocking access to the parliamentary precinct.
“There were no injuries and the situation was de-escalated,” a police spokesperson told AFP.
The nation’s most populous province of Ontario, where Trudeau lives in the capital Ottawa, is expected to start easing Covid restrictions from Monday, allowing restaurants, bars, sports venues and movie theaters to re-open.
Canada has recorded more than 2.9 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 33,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
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