OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada, March 12, 2020 (ENS) – The novel coronavirus called COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on Wednesday. There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives.
“This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus, and we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled, at the same time,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death,” Dr. Tedros told media from around the world.
Meanwhile, the easily-transmissible coronavirus is no respecter of high position or even of great talent and fame.
One day after Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined Canada’s response to COVID-19, establishing a more than $1 billion Response Fund, he himself is isolated due to the virus after his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for the new coronavirus after a trip to the UK.
“Following medical recommendations, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau was tested for COVID-19 today. The test came back positive,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said Thursday night.
The statement says she will remain in isolation. “She is feeling well, is taking all the recommended precautions and her symptoms remain mild,” the PM’s Office said.
Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Trudeau went into isolation for the next 14 days as Sophie awaited test results. She was tested for the new coronavirus after she experienced symptoms upon her return from a trip to the UK, where she had been carrying out speaking engagements.
His office says the Prime Minister is in “good health with no symptoms.”
On the advice of doctors, he will not be tested at this stage since he has no symptoms. Doctors say there is no risk to those who have been in contact with him recently.
In a message attached to the statement, Sophie Trudeau thanked everyone who has sent her their own messages of concern about her health. “Although I’m experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of the virus, I will be back on my feet soon,” she said. “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,”
“We will get through this situation together,” she assured Canadians. “Please share the facts and take your health seriously. I send you all my courage and warm thoughts (but only ‘get better’ hugs from afar!).”
Health care workers will “reach out to those who have been in contact with Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau as they deem necessary,” the PM’s Office said.
Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks announced on social media Thursday that he and his wife, fellow actor Rita Wilson, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus that has infected tens of thousands worldwide since late December.
On Instagram and in a tweet on Thursday, Hanks, who is in Australia for preproduction on a film about Elvis Presley, said he and Wilson ” felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches.”