New Brunswick premier won’t attend first ministers meeting because of COVID-19

A spokeswoman for New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says he will not attend the first ministers Thursday in Ottawa now that his province has reported its first presumptive case of COVID-19.

Spokeswoman Nicolle Carlin said this morning Higgs has decided he must stay in New Brunswick.

On Wednesday, Higgs said the Ottawa meeting should be held via teleconference, noting there is a travel ban for New Brunswick government employees as a result of the pandemic.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer, says health officials learned Wednesday that a woman between 50 and 60 years old living in the southeastern area of the province was “minimally symptomatic” after returning from a trip to France.

The woman remains in isolation in her home, and her positive test result for the novel coronavirus needs to be confirmed by the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.

New Brunswick is the first Atlantic province to report a presumptive case of the disease.

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