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Thierry Henry, citing family, steps down as CF Montreal head coach

CF Montreal lost a head coach and Major League Soccer said goodbye to a marquee name with news Thursday that Thierry Henry was stepping down.

Citing family reasons, the 43-year-old former star striker said he was quitting the club after one season at the helm to return to London. Kevin Gilmore, Montreal’s president and CEO, called it a “difficult day” but said Henry was leaving on good terms.

“I’m surprised but given the circumstances it doesn’t shock me that this has happened given what he went through last year,” he told reporters.

Separation from his children plus the prospect of having to spend another season on the road due to pandemic-related travel restrictions contributed to Henry’s decision.

“Last year was very difficult on this club across the board,” said Gilmore. “But especially with those that had to spend the last four months of the season outside of Montreal. And the prospect of starting a season like that again is very difficult. And it’s taken its toll on a lot of people. Obviously it’s taken its toll on Thierry and his children.

“He made a difficult decision — although I keep saying when you make decisions based on family, they’re always good decisions — to stay in London and give up his position as the head coach of the club in order to be close to his family.”

‘Heavy heart’

The announcement comes on the eve of training camp. Players report Monday for a seven-day quarantine period, medicals and COVID-19 testing prior to the start of team training March 8. The MLS regular season kicks off April 17.

Montreal said it will take a committee approach to coaching led by assistant coach Wilfried Nancy until a successor is found. The new head coach will take charge of a roster that has been radically changed since last season with 11 players having left and eight new faces.

Henry spoke to the Montreal players and staff Thursday via video but not the media.

“It is with a heavy heart that I’ve decided to take this decision,” the French native said in a statement. “The last year has been an extremely difficult one for me personally. Due to the worldwide pandemic, I was unable to see my children.

“Unfortunately due to the ongoing restrictions and the fact that we will have to relocate to the U.S. again for several months, [this year] will be no different. The separation is too much of a strain for me and my kids. Therefore, it is with much sadness that I must take the decision to return to London and leave CF Montreal.”

Henry was hired in November 2019, succeeding interim coach Wilmer Cabrera on a two-year contract with an option for the 2022 season.

Henry has been linked to the managerial opening at England’s Bournemouth in recent days. But Montreal officials said there had been no contact with the Championship side, which recently handed the manager’s job to Jonathan Woodgate through the end of the season.

“Bournemouth was nothing more than a rumour,” Gilmore said.

Still, Montreal says it will be entitled to compensation if Henry takes a position with another club in the near future.

Gilmore said Henry was not focused on a job hunt. “Right now his sole and only focus is his children and his family.”

But Montreal sporting director Olivier Renard said he hopes Henry returns to coaching as soon as possible.

“He deserves it. I can say that I was very proud of him last year ΓǪ You could see he was in difficulty about his family, about the players. He was the leader of the team.”

Henry, seen taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, led Montreal (8-13-2) to the playoffs last season, for the first time since 2016. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Henry led Montreal (8-13-2) to the playoffs last season, for the first time since 2016. Montreal, which finished out the 2020 campaign based in Harrison, N.J., exited in the play-in round in November thanks to a 95th-minute goal by New England’s Gustavo Bou.

Gilmore said Henry flew home for the holidays, returning to Montreal the last week of January. After finishing quarantine in early February, he told the club he had to fly home to deal with some personal issues.

“His children were struggling with him having just left,” said Gilmore.

Last Thursday, Henry indicated he was leaning toward not coming back. Gilmore said while the club tried to find ways to ease his burden, Henry told them Monday he was stepping down.

“Is it perfect timing? Absolutely not. But like I said there is no deadline or prescription date on personal decisions and we fully understand where he’s coming from,” Gilmore said.

“Of course it’s a loss when you lose a person like Thierry Henry, who’s a football legend known worldwide and is associated with your club,” he added. “The thing is he’ll always be associated with this club.”

Gilmore said the team is in the process of finalizing where in the U.S. it will play home matches this season while the border restrictions continue. A return to New Jersey or Florida are possibilities.

Toronto FC is also looking at Florida, with Orlando and Tampa possible venues. Vancouver is reportedly looking at Utah.

Henry was an elite forward whose playing resume includes Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona, the New York Red Bulls and France. He retired in December 2014 after a 20-year career that saw him score 411 goals in 917 matches.

Henry was an academy coach at Arsenal and an assistant coach with the Belgian national team before taking charge of AS Monaco and then Montreal.

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Canadian softball’s Sara Groenewegen steps away from pro league over virus concerns

Canada’s Sara Groenewegen opted out of her pro women’s softball league on Wednesday.

In a post on Twitter, the 25-year-old Surrey, B.C., native, who is diabetic, explained that the decision was made because of health concerns over the coronavirus in the U.S.

“We don’t get a lot of opportunity to play professionally and earn an income in the sport of softball, but no amount of money is worth putting my health at risk at this time,” Groenewegen wrote.

The right-handed pitcher had been set to play in the inaugural season of Athletes Unlimited in Chicago at the end of August. The new league is an initiative meant to put power back in the hands of the players. There are no team owners, and the public can purchase equity in the league so that profits go to the athletes.

Groenewegen would have starred alongside standouts such as outfielders AJ Andrews and Victoria Hayward in Chicago.

“This decision wasn’t easy, but after much thought, consideration and conversations with my doctors, trainers and coaches, I’ve come to the conclusion that moving to the United States is not in my best interest for me and my future,” Groenewegen wrote.

Groenewegen was part of Canada’s 2015 gold-medal Pan Am Games team as well as the bronze medallists from the 2016 worlds.

She was diagnosed with diabetes at nine years old, and was forced to miss the 2018 world championships after contracting Legionnaires’ disease and being placed in a 10-day medically induced coma.

WATCH | Softball Canada punches ticket to Tokyo with walk-off home run:

Canada beat Brazil 7-0 in a winner-take-all match at the Americas Olympics Qualifier, officially clinching a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 1:56

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Jets’ Blake Wheeler steps away from domestic chaos to play in Stanley Cup qualifiers

Like many parents, Blake Wheeler and his wife Sam stickhandled homeschooling, cooking, and cleaning — not to mention refereeing disputes between their three kids —through the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the Winnipeg Jets captain is about to step away from the domestic chaos to skate in the National Hockey League Stanley Cup qualifiers in Edmonton.

“We were in south Florida, in the epicentre of everything going on right now,” Wheeler told reporters via Zoom on the opening day of training camp. “It’s definitely been a nerve-wracking and anxious few months. “When you think about everything going on in the world – and then you think about going back and playing a game – it’s sometimes hard to put that in perspective.”

Wheeler and the Jets practice in Winnipeg one last time Sunday morning and then embark for the Alberta capital for an undetermined time period. The longer they stay, the deeper their run in the chase for a title. All the uncertainty makes it hard for Wheeler to say goodbye to Sam and the kids.

“It’s been very challenging,” he said. “So the thought of leaving all that on Sam’s plate is probably something I haven’t come to terms with yet.”

If it’s any consolation, Wheeler and the Jets won’t have much spare time to ruminate. First, they clash with the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night in their first and only exhibition game. Then they open the qualifying round next Saturday in the first of a best-of-five against the Calgary Flames.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Rob Pizzo previews Jets-Flames:

In part 5 of 10, Rob Pizzo breaks down the only all-Canadian matchup in the qualification round.  1:11

“The entire time during the pause, after one day I was ready to play hockey again,” said Jets centre Mark Scheifele, who amassed 29 goals and 73 points in 71 games this season. “There was obviously a lot to deal with, but now that we’re back to hockey, that’s the excitement — playing the game we love every single day.

“No matter what it is, we’re playing hockey and we get to compete for the Stanley Cup. That’s the ultimate dream.”

The Jets (37-28-6) enter the qualifiers as a team that spent most of the 2019/20 campaign on the playoff bubble. But look closely, and there’s reason for optimism among the local fanbase.

Built for the post-season

In many ways, the Jets are built for the post-season with their size and speed up front. They have a Vezina Trophy finalist in goalie Connor Hellebuyck. And their core players have valuable playoff experience.

“You don’t have to explain to your players what playoffs look like,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “Which, you go back two years, we had to. We didn’t really have the guys that have ever played a playoff game, let alone had a long run. “But now we have consecutive years where our drivers are familiar with how the playoffs work.”

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Rob Pizzo previews Western round-robin:

In part 2 of 10, Rob Pizzo examines whether the defending champion Blues will come out of the round-robin with the #1 seed.  1:16

The Jets reached the Western Conference Final in 2018. Amid high expectations, they lost their opening-round series last year in six to the St. Louis Blues, who went on to win the Stanley Cup. Scheifele, for one, can’t wait for another opportunity.”

‘Everything on the line’

It’s the adrenaline,” he said. “When you get into a tight game and it’s the third period, it’s the guys that are calm, cool, and collected, but they have that adrenaline buried deep inside them that is ready to come out. “That’s what I’m looking forward to. A real-game situation with everything on the line and that adrenaline starts pumping. That’s what I’m craving the most.”

At age 33, Wheeler realizes his chances of hoisting the Stanley Cup are likely numbered. With that in the mind, he’s following his wife’s advice as he prepares for takeoff to Edmonton.

“When we’ve talked about it, basically what we came down to is she says, ‘Don’t just leave and play just three games. That would be a waste of time. At least give me something to entertain me,” he said. “So, that’s kind of where we’ve left it for now. “Hopefully we can go on a little bit of a run and give everyone back home something to cheer about.”

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Spanish soccer players fearful as La Liga takes steps to resume games

Players from La Liga side Eibar have issued a joint statement expressing their concerns about returning to training and matches while the new coronavirus remains a threat.

Spanish soccer has been on hold since March due to the pandemic, although clubs are due to start individual training this week once they have undergone testing for the virus ahead of an expected return to matches, without spectators, by June.

Sides will be given daily testing for the virus, and training centers will be subjected to strict conditions on hygiene once activity resumes, although some players have spoken out about returning to matches.

On Tuesday, Eibar became the first top-flight club to publicly express their concerns.

“We are worried about starting an activity in which we will not be able to complete the first recommendation of all experts which is physical distance,” the players said in a statement given to radio station Cadena Ser.

“It worries us that by doing what we like most we could get infected and infect our family and friends and even contribute to a new wave of the pandemic with the terrible consequences that would have for the whole population.”

The coronavirus has claimed more than 25,000 lives in Spain since February, but the spread of the disease and the death toll has slowed as a result of one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe, which the government has now begun loosening.

‘We ask for guarantees’

“The health of everyone should be the most important thing and now is the time to back this idea up with actions and not just words. We ask for guarantees and we demand responsibility,” the Eibar players said.

La Liga responded by saying it was natural for players to be cautious about returning to work, but it said it was taking appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Of course we understand that people have various emotions, including fear,” said a league spokesman.

“This is an unprecedented time. However, we are taking many precautions for a safe and controlled return of football. Playing football will be safer than, for example, going to the supermarket or pharmacy.”

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Alberta to take first steps to open economy on Saturday, with emphasis on outdoor activities

The first step in Alberta’s plan to reopen its economy will emphasize outdoor activities, with golf courses to open on Saturday followed by shops, bars and restaurants by mid-May.

Premier Jason Kenney detailed his government’s plan for a multi-stage relaunch that will depend on the province’s continued ability to control the spread of the coronavirus and curb the number of COVID-19 patients who need hospital care.

“It feels like a lot more than 56 days since the first presumptive case of the novel coronavirus was reported here in Alberta on March 5,” Kenney said at a news conference on Thursday. 

“But together Albertans have responded to the worst global pandemic in over a century with a great deal of common sense, but also making tremendous sacrifices and demonstrating great resilience.”

Although the province’s relaunch plan stated golf courses would open Monday, Kenney posted on Twitter Thursday evening that Saturday would be the open date.  

Parts of the gradual relaunch plan will also begin Monday with the resumption of some non-urgent surgeries and office reopenings for dentists, physiotherapists, speech and respiratory therapists, social workers and dieticians.

Golf courses, such as this one in Edmonton, will be allowed to open on May 2, though clubhouses and pro shops will have to remain closed. (City of Edmonton)

Golf, boating, camping

While golf courses will be allowed to open on May 2, clubhouses and pro shops will remain closed.

Provincial parks will begin opening Monday with some boat launches available though washrooms and garbage pickup in the parks will not be immediately available. The province will open as many campsites as possible by June 1 with Alberta Parks’s online reservation system coming online May 14.

Private and municipal campgrounds can reopen under their own authority. 

Vehicle access to parking lots and staging areas in parks and on public lands will begin on Monday.

On Thursday, Alberta reported three more deaths and 190 new cases of COVID-19. One earlier death thought to be due to COVID-19 was not, so the number of deaths in the province is now 89. The province has recorded 5,355 cases.

“Your efforts have succeeded in containing the spread of the virus far below the devastating scale of the outbreak in many other places,” Kenney told Albertans. “And well below the capacity of our health-care system to cope.”

Stage 1

If efforts to control the spread of the virus continue to be effective so that hospitals and intensive care units can deal with the caseload, the province will move to Stage 1, based on the advice of the chief medical officer of health.

In Stage 1, some businesses and facilities could be allowed to gradually resume operations as early as May 14, including:

  • Retail businesses, such as clothing, furniture and bookstores. All vendors at farmers markets will also be able to operate.
  • Hairstyling and barbershops.
  • Museums and art galleries.
  • Daycares and out-of-school care with limits on occupancy.
  • Summer camps with limits on occupancy. That could include summer school.
  • Cafés and restaurants with no bar service to reopen for public seating at 50 per cent capacity.

As the province slowly reopens, Kenney said Albertans will still face the most severe economic conditions since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

While we continue to see new cases and expect to as long as the virus is around, we’ve achieved our primary goal of flattening the curve of infections to keep our health-care system from being overwhelmed,​​​​​.– Alberta Premier Jason Kenney

“While we continue to see new cases and expect to as long as the virus is around, we’ve achieved our primary goal of flattening the curve of infections to keep our health-care system from being overwhelmed,” Kenney said.

“But with today’s launch of Alberta’s relaunch strategy, we can finally begin to shift our focus from the pain and anxiety of the past few weeks and to start looking, with modest hope and cautious confidence, toward the future.”

Post-secondary institutions will continue to deliver courses, but the way those courses are delivered — whether online or in-person — will depend on what restrictions remain in place at each relaunch phase.

The use of masks will be strongly recommended in certain crowded public spaces, such as mass transit.

Under Stage 1, gatherings of more than 15 people will still be prohibited.

Arts and culture festivals, major sporting events and concerts, movie theatres, theatres, swimming pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, gyms and nightclubs will all remain closed.

Crowds leave Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton after a concert. Arts and culture festivals, major sporting events and concerts, movie theatres, theatres, swimming pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, gyms and nightclubs will all remain closed. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Stage 2

If the province continues to meet its goals in controlling the spread of the virus, it would then move to Stage 2.

Under Stage 2, additional businesses and services would be allowed to reopen, with two-metre physical distancing requirements and other public health guidelines in place. That might include:

  • Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools, with restrictions.
  • More scheduled surgeries, including backlog elimination.
  • Personal services, such as artificial tanning, esthetics, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatments, massage and reflexology.
  • Permitting some larger gatherings (number of people to be determined).
  • Movie theatres and theatres open with restrictions.
  • Visitors to patients at health-care facilities will continue to be limited.

In Stage 2, nightclubs, gyms, pools, recreation centres and arenas will remain closed.

WATCH | How to physically distance in tricky situations:

Physical distancing has radically changed how we socialize. But there’s still some scenarios where it’s difficult to limit our physical contact with others. Here’s how to best navigate them. 3:23

Stage 3

Again, if the case numbers remain under control, at some point the province would move to Stage 3. That would mean fully reopening all businesses and services, with some limited restrictions still in place, and:

  • Permitting larger gatherings, permitting arts and culture festivals, concerts and major sporting events, with some restrictions.
  • Permitting nightclubs, gyms, pools, recreation centres and arenas to reopen, with restrictions.
  • Resuming industry conferences, with restrictions.
  • Lifting restrictions on non-essential travel.

The challenge Albertans face now is to begin returning to a more normal life, Kenney said, though a full return to normal won’t come until there is an effective vaccine or treatment.

“I want Albertans to know that our public health officials are constantly reviewing and improving our public health guidelines to keep us safe as we begin to resume economic and personal social activities,” Kenney said.

“You can expect to see changes and clarifications to this plan as it unfolds — so, it is not set in stone. It is going to be a plan that develops over time, based on how well we are doing to combat the virus.”

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Cindy Parlow Cone becomes 1st female president of US Soccer as Cordeiro steps down

Carlos Cordeiro resigned as U.S. Soccer Federation president on Thursday night, three days after the organization sparked a backlash when its legal papers in a gender discrimination lawsuit claimed the women’s national team players had less physical ability and responsibility than their male counterparts.

His decision elevated former American midfielder Cindy Parlow Cone to become the first woman president in the history of the 107-year-old federation.

Cordeiro announced his resignation on Twitter without even telling the federation’s communications staff. He stepped down on a day several USSF board members issued extraordinary rebukes that criticized the governing body’s legal filings. Among them were Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber and Parlow Cone, the federation’s vice-president.

A night earlier, U.S. women wore their warmup jerseys inside-out to hide the federation crest before a game against Japan. Several of the federation’s sponsors issued statements this week backing the players and condemning the USSF, including The Coca-Cola Co., Anheuser Busch Cos. Inc., The Procter & Gamble Co. and Volkswagen Group.

Cordeiro said he decided to quit after discussions with the USSF board.

“It has become clear to me that what is best right now is a new direction,” Cordeiro wrote. “The arguments and language contained in this week’s legal filing caused great offence and pain, especially to our extraordinary women’s national team players who deserve better. It was unacceptable and inexcusable.”

“I did not have the opportunity to fully review the filing in its entirety before it was submitted, and I take responsibility for not doing so. Had I done so, I would have objected to the language,” he wrote.

The legal papers were submitted to federal court in Los Angeles as part of the USSF’s defence of the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by women’s national team players last year. They claim they have not been paid equally to the men’s national team and asked for more than $ 66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 . A trial is scheduled for May 5.

“While it is gratifying that there has been such a deafening outcry against USSF’s blatant misogyny, the sexist culture and policies overseen by Carlos Cordeiro have been approved for years by the board of directors of USSF,” said Molly Levinson, the players’ spokeswoman. “This institution must change and support and pay women players equally.”

Cordeiro had issued an apology for the arguments late Wednesday night while the women’s team was still on the field against Japan. He added the federation had retained new legal counsel, a move the men’s national team on Thursday called “window dressing” and “a sleight of hand.”

Parlow Cone, now 41, scored 75 goals in 158 appearances for the U.S. from 1995 to 2006, winning the 1999 World Cup and two Olympic gold medals. She retired because of post-concussion syndrome.

She was elected to the U.S. National Hall of Fame in 2018, and was voted in as USSF vice-president in 2019.

Parlow Cone will serve as president until the federation’s annual general meeting in next February 2021. An election will be held then to complete Cordeiro’s term, which runs until the regular election for a four-year term in 2022.

She praised Cordeiro, calling him “a good man with a good heart.”

“The passion that has come to the surface in the past two days is what inspires me to look forward, to work hard towards mending relationships and moving the game forward for all,” she said in a statement issued by the federation.

Earlier in the day Parlow Cone posted to Twitter that she was “hurt and saddened” by the brief that USSF’s attorneys filed.

One of Cone’s former teammates, Julie Foudy, suggested “there was no other way out after those 2,600 pages” of legal documents.

“I played with Cindy for many years. I know Cindy. She understands ALL the players are going through having lived it. And she is one hell of a human. Give her a chance to succeed. Please,” Foudy posted.

Garber’s statement was especially telling. He is a member of the USSF board and CEO of Soccer United Marketing, the marketing arm of both MLS and the USSF.

“I expressed to the president of the federation in no uncertain terms how unacceptable and offensive I found the statements in that filing to be,” Garber said. “Those statements do not reflect my personal view, nor do they reflect the views of the Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing families. I intend to immediately address this issue with the U.S. Soccer board of directors.”

A former Goldman Sachs partner, Cordeiro was elected to head the USSF two years ago, taking over from Sunil Gulati, who decided not to run for re-election after the men failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

The declarations by the USSF of male physical superiority and responsibility drew widespread condemnation.

“The comments made by U.S. Soccer do not align with our values, nor our point of view on women’s soccer,” Monica Rustgi, Budweiser’s vice-president of marketing, said in a statement. “We champion and admire the athleticism of the women in this sport as we find them to be among the best athletes in the world.”

The player protest before a 3-1 victory in the SheBelieves Cup provided a visual to built-up anger. Players hid the USSF crest on the jerseys but allowed the four stars — one for each World Cup title — to be visible. The players did not smile in the pregame team photo.

Players took to social media to voice their displeasure. Christen Press posted a photo of the unsmiling team, writing: “It is the great honour of my life to play this sport and represent this country. Every woman deserves equal pay and every institution anywhere that doesn’t value women as much as men must change now.”

Former national team stars Heather O’Reilly, Abby Wambach, Michelle Akers and Hope Solo were all in agreement that Cordeiro should resign.

DaMarcus Beasley, the only American man to play in four World Cups, said he was both annoyed an disappointed.

“Respectfully, this is a terrible stance by US Soccer,” Beasley wrote. “Our women are NOT inferior to men in any sense of the word. The are Olympic gold medallists and World Cup Champions!!! And incredible women!!”

Nashville SC midfielder Dax McCarty, a past member of the national team, wrote on Twitter the statements were “sexist, misogynistic and tone deaf” and also “horrifying.”

In an interview following the game, Megan Rapinoe, the reigning FIFA Player of the Year, addressed young players.

“You are not lesser just because you are a girl. You are not better just because you are a boy,” she said. “We are all created equal and should all have the equal opportunity to got out and pursue our dreams.”

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Coronavirus in Canada: What are the next steps to contain the disease here?

The next steps for Canada’s coronavirus patient zero include two weeks of monitoring in isolation and quarantine for those who’ve been in close contact with him, infectious disease physicians say.

The man in his 50s had travelled to Wuhan, China, and is currently in stable condition at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said he showed mild symptoms on a flight from Guangzhou to Toronto.

Travellers followed

Tam said the latest scientific data suggests that people transmit the virus when they’re in close contact with others.

“It’s really fellow travellers or family members travelling with a patient that are [at the highest risk],” Tam told a news conference on Sunday. Toronto Public Health officials will provide travellers who were within a two-metre radius of the patient on the plane with information.

Watch | The National looks at what is known so far about Canada’s 1st presumed coronavirus case:

A patient in Toronto is being treated in isolation for what Canadian health officials call the first ‘presumptive’ confirmed case of coronavirus. 2:11

Tam said airline staff who may have served the man will also be informed.

“What I would like to emphasize is that for other people on the flight, or in the airport or not in close contact with the patient, is that they should not be overly concerned,” Tam said.

The latest scientific data suggests that people transmit the coronavirus when they’re in close contact with others, said Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

CBC News spoke to a passenger who said he was on China Southern Airlines flight CZ311, which took off on Tuesday to Toronto from Guangzhou. Despite Tam’s reassurance, the passenger from Toronto, who didn’t want to be identified because of the stigma associated with the coronavirus, said he was going to self-quarantine on his own initiative for two weeks.

“I am worried,” he wrote to CBC News on Chinese microblogging site Weibo. “I am worried for me and my family.”

The risk of outbreak in Canada remains low, Tam said in reiterating that if someone has travelled to the affected area in Wuhan and has fever or flu-like symptoms, they should call a doctor.

China’s health minister said the transmissibility of the virus “shows signs of increasing.” 

A negative pressure isolation treatment room at Toronto’s Humber River Hospital. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor in the department of medicine at the University of Toronto who studies infectious diseases with a focus on antimicrobial stewardship at Sinai Health System, said he’s concerned about how the Canadian public could respond to China’s health ministry information on how people might be infectious when not showing symptoms.

In China, officials strive for people to self-quarantine based on exposure to a high-risk place such as the live-animal market in Wuhan or being in close contact with someone known to be infected.

“What they’re trying to do [in China] is tell people you can’t just go by your symptoms,” Morris said. “If you’ve got an exposure history risk then you may be contagious even though you don’t have symptoms. That may be wise especially where the prevalence of the disease is high.

“I don’t think it’s applicability is there for … many of the other countries in the world, including Canada.”

Morris said he’s telling family and friends outside of health-care settings in Canada they don’t need to do anything differently.

Dr. Jerome Leis, director of infection prevention and control at Sunnybrook, said the care for the coronavirus patient isn’t affecting other patients. (CBC)

In the U.S., Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said to expect more cases to be reported in the U.S. in the coming days. Like Tam, she described the risk to the public as “low at this time.”

“We need to be preparing as if this is a pandemic, but I continue to hope that it is not,” Messonnier told reporters.

The patient’s care

Dr. Jerome Leis of Sunnybrook said day-to-day business at the hospital continues as normal. “It is not affecting the care we provide for all of our other patients.”

Since there are no specific treatments for the virus, currently known in scientific circles as 2019-nCoV, the man will receive supportive care to relieve symptoms, Morris said.

The patient will be kept in isolation until infectious disease physicians consider the risk to the general public negligible, Morris said. Before that, they may conduct virus studies to check that he is no longer contagious.

“He’s been rapidly processed, appropriately processed and the degree of risk reduction has really been quite impressive,” Morris said.

“If you think of what it’s like today compared to how we were 17 years ago with SARS, that change is dramatic and hopefully that’s going to substantially reduce the risk to the public.”

Containment efforts

Paramedics who transported the patient wore protective equipment such as masks.

At the hospital, the patient was put in special isolation in a negative pressure room with a vacuum to suck all of the air out and filter out any infectious particles.

Standard public health protocols include tracing “close contacts” of a patient with the virus, such as those living with the sick person.

In Canada, close contacts are asked to self-isolate at home so public health officials can observe if they get symptoms or not.

According to the CDC, people who have “casual contact,” such as going to the same grocery store, “are at minimal risk for developing infection.”

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Queen Elizabeth calls family meeting for Monday to discuss ‘next steps’ for Harry and Meghan

Queen Elizabeth will meet with members of the Royal Family on Monday at her Sandringham estate in eastern England to agree on “next steps” after Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, decided to “step back” as senior royals, Buckingham Palace said Saturday.

The palace said “a range of possibilities” was on the table, but the Queen was determined to resolve the situation within “days not weeks” after Harry and Meghan announced their news without consulting the monarch.

As the British media went into meltdown over the news, the Queen moved quickly to take back control, summoning her son and heir, Prince Charles, and grandsons, Princes William and Harry, to a crisis meeting to sort things out.

Elizabeth, who assumed the throne in 1952, has weathered family crises before, and is determined not to let her grandson and granddaughter-in-law weaken the House of Windsor or undermine the monarchy.

Harry’s next scheduled public appearance is a rugby event at Buckingham Palace on Thursday. Meghan, meanwhile, has flown to Canada, where the couple and their eight-month-old son, Archie, spent a six-week Christmas break; according to Reuters, citing British media, Meghan is expected to join Monday’s meeting by telephone if the time difference allows.

Harry and Meghan announced this week they plan to “balance” their time between the U.K. and North America, with Canada their likely base. Meghan is American, but lived in Toronto for several years while filming the TV show Suits.

Harry, left, and Meghan, right, recently spent a six-week Christmas break in Canada with their eight-month-old son, Archie. (REUTERS)

The prince and the former actress married in 2018, and broadcasts of their Windsor Castle wedding were watched around the world. Harry, 35, is sixth in line to the British throne, a former British army officer and one of the Royal Family’s most popular members.

He has spent his entire life in the public eye, but has not always been happy with scrutiny by a media he blames for the death of his mother, Princess Diana. She died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by photographers.

Some columnists have been critical of Meghan, depicting her as a meddling American interloper into the Royal Family; others highlighted her biracial heritage with words like “exotic.” In 2017, Harry accused the media of directing “a wave of abuse and harassment” at his then-girlfriend that included articles with negative “racial undertones.”

Brexit, Prince Andrew highlight difficult 2019 for Queen

Harry and Meghan’s shock decision to become part-time royals who earn their own money came after a rough year for the Queen. In September, she was drawn into the U.K.’s political discord over Brexit when Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked her to suspend Parliament as lawmakers tried to thwart his plans to take Britain out of the European Union. The Supreme Court ruled that the suspension was illegal and Johnson had misled the monarch about his reasons for it.

In November, her son Prince Andrew gave a disastrous television interview about his friendship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. His awkward performance failed to silence questions about the Queen’s second son, who has relinquished royal duties and patronages after being accused by a woman who says she was an Epstein trafficking victim and claims to have slept with the prince.

In her annual televised message to the nation on Christmas Day, the Queen appeared to allude to both national and family divisions when she said that the path to harmony and understanding “is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy.”

She urged people to “set aside past differences and come together in the spirit of friendship and reconciliation.”

Ironically, some of Meghan and Harry’s unhappiness may stem from the Queen’s efforts to strengthen the monarchy by making it more lean and slimmed down. An image released by Buckingham Palace last week of the Queen and the three heirs next in line to the throne — Charles, William and William’s son, Prince George — appeared to underscore who the Windsors see as their core members.

“From Harry and Meghan’s point of view, they’re just being driven out,” Tom Bradby, an ITV television anchor who is close to the couple, said.

This handout photo provided by Buckingham Palace of Queen Elizabeth, bottom right, and the next three in line to the throne — Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George — appeared to underscore who the Windsors see as their core members. (Ranald Mackechnie/Buckingham Palace via AP)

The discord comes at a delicate time for the monarchy. The Queen remains robust, but, at age 93, she has handed over a growing number of public duties to Charles and William. Her husband of 72 years, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has retired from public life and was recently hospitalized.

“It’s hard not to think that if the Duke of Edinburgh had been around and in circulation more, that perhaps this particular situation wouldn’t have got out of control,” Majesty magazine managing editor Joe Little said. “The Queen may be head of state, but the duke is still very much head of the family, although inevitably at 98 and a half, he’s much less hands-on than he used to be.”

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Trudeau outlines ‘first steps’ on long road to justice for PS752 victims

The Iranian government’s admission that its own military forces shot down flight PS752 was “an important step,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday, but it was also a “first step.” There are still, the prime minister explained, “many more steps” to be taken — that “must” be taken.

This is the prudent response. Though there can be no doubt now that Iranian actions directly caused the deaths of 176 people, including 57 Canadians, the tasks of mourning for those lost and achieving justice on their behalf are far from complete. 

The weight of responsibility will have to be borne for months and years to come. 

For Iran, Trudeau laid out his expectations. A full and complete investigation “must” be conducted. “Full clarity” is needed. Families “deserve” closure. It is “absolutely necessary” that Canada participate in the investigation and Canadian officials “expect” the full co-operation of Iranian authorities. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had responded with a “commitment to collaborate.”

Watch Trudeau’s statement following Iran’s admission

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reacts to Iran’s admission that it unintentionally shot down passenger jet PS752, says all Canadians are shocked and appalled at this senseless loss of life. 1:01

The prime minister has been careful since Tuesday to not get ahead of himself or the facts, and again on Saturday he was unwilling to ruminate publicly on possible consequences if Iran is somehow less than fully co-operative and forthcoming.

“I think there are going to be many conversations and reflections on consequences over the coming days and weeks,” he said. “Right now, we’re focusing on what the families most need and that is answers and access, and that is where all of our efforts are focused.”

Trudeau’s greatest natural advantages as a politician have been his lifelong connection with the Canadian public and his own inclination to connect and so it might seem to naturally follow that he would orient himself toward the personal needs of those directly affected. He spent much of Friday meeting with grieving families and made a point of relaying their feelings and desires in his prepared remarks on Saturday.

“They are hurt, angry and grieving,” Trudeau said. “They want answers. They want justice.”

A confirmation of his own feelings was tacitly, and perhaps correctly, put secondary to those who have suffered directly. The prime minister’s tone this week has been grim and his words have been heavy, but only when asked by a reporter did Trudeau acknowledge that he was “furious” and “outraged.”

Watch as Trudeau says he’s ‘outraged and furious’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a news conference in Ottawa on Saturday, saying Iran must take “full responsibility” and that a full and complete investigation must be conducted. 6:12

But focusing on the needs of those most directly affected is also an important signpost for a Canadian government that will be held responsible for properly doing everything in its power to achieve accountability and justice. It might be emotionally satisfying to quickly threaten the Iranian regime, but words and actions are only truly useful if they advance the cause of justice for those who died and those who are left behind.

Asked again to account for exactly what sequence of events can be said to have led to this week’s disaster — the provocative question of whether the targeted killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by the United States played a role in this tragedy — Trudeau again declined to speculate.

Echoes of Obama after MH17 downing

He did surmise that “it is at times of tension like these that tragedies like this crash can happen, causing great loss of innocent life” — an echo of then-U.S. President Barack Obama’s words after the downing of MH17 in 2014. But he also noted that “the reality is there have been significant tensions in that region for a long time.”  

What the example of MH17 — the Malaysian Airlines flight that was shot down by a Russian missile over Ukraine — would suggest is that it may be years before full justice is achieved. Five years after that disaster, the Netherlands and its international partners are still pursuing the case and Russia has not admitted responsibility.

In the case of the Iranian flight that was shot down by American forces in 1988, it took eight years for compensation to be agreed upon and delivered. The real details of what happened were slowly uncovered. 

Iran’s admission on Friday night — perhaps compelled by the overwhelming evidence of a missile attack, including video images — might suggest a quicker resolution, at least at the level of official accountability and restitution. But much remains to be seen and nothing can be taken for granted.

Vigils have been held across Canada, including this one in Ottawa, to commemorate those killed aboard Flight PS752. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Speaking at a memorial for MH17 last July, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who Trudeau consulted for advice this week, offered words that may be applicable now.

“Our hearts cry out for a swift resolution, while our heads tell us to proceed carefully,” he said. “Because the road to justice requires determination and unity. It requires self-control and restraint.”

Trudeau seems to implicitly acknowledge the task ahead when he says that this country “will not rest” until it gets the “accountability, justice and closure that families deserve.” 

Even if the wound is treated, the Iranian regime itself should understand that scars can last a lifetime — just days ago President Rouhani was reminding Americans of what they had done 31 years ago.

The days ahead will involve mourning and diplomacy and the pursuit of answers, for however long that takes. The disaster will linger as a trauma for Canada and Canadians.

And PS752 — its tragedy, its causes and its ramifications — will loom for many years to come a scar on the history of the world.

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Meghan Markle Fans Want Her to Return to Acting After Duchess Steps Back From Royal Duties

Meghan Markle Fans Want Her to Return to Acting After Duchess Steps Back From Royal Duties | Entertainment Tonight

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