Canada opposition leaders test positive for Covid-19

By: AFP      Published: 10:52 AM, 19 Sep, 2020
Canada opposition leaders test positive for Covid-19

Canada's conservative opposition leader Erin O'Toole tested positive for the new coronavirus on Friday, his office announced, one day after another federal party leader did, too.

Both O'Toole and Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet were "feeling well" and were self-isolating, according to statements. 

Each had had close contact with staffers who tested positive for the Covid-19 illness.

O'Toole said he is "very relieved that his wife and children have tested negative."

The diagnoses come just one week before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's minority Liberal government is to test support in parliament for a new agenda.

Meanwhile, the Quebec government announced Friday that it is sending police to more than 1,000 bars and restaurants over the weekend to ensure compliance with measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

"This is a massive, visible operation, which will aim to detect places where there may be problems or shortcomings," the province's public safety minister, Genevieve Guilbault, told a news conference.

Police, she said, will "ensure that public health rules are followed in establishments by both operators and customers" and may issue fines.

They will also enforce a new prohibition on the sale of alcohol after midnight, brought in during the pandemic.

Dancing and karaoke singing are also prohibited.

Last week, Quebec announced steep fines up to Can$6,000 (US$4,500) for recalcitrant citizens who refuse to wear masks, which has been mandatory since July 18 in indoor public spaces.

Neighboring Ontario has also clamped down on large gatherings and private parties.

The two provinces have been hardest hit in Canada by the pandemic, and each saw their number of new cases rise in recent weeks.

In total, Canada has recorded more than 141,000 coronavirus cases and 9,240 deaths.