Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that there are still many health-related questions to be answered before he can say whether he will attend a face-to-face G7 meeting that President Donald Trump has said he wants to host.
"There are significant health preoccupations that we have around holding an in-person meeting," Trudeau said in his daily news conference. "Would we then as leaders have to self-isolate when we return, which is right now the rule in Canada?"
White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said on Sunday that if there were to be an in-person meeting, it would be at the end of June.
Trump in March cancelled the Group of Seven leaders meeting scheduled for June 10 as the coronavirus outbreak was spreading around the world and international travel was curtailed.
But last week Trump said he may seek to revive the idea of a face-to-face meeting because he said it would send a message that the world is getting back to normal.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Trudeau did not rule out going, saying he would consult public health experts and that talks with the Trump administration "are happening in an ongoing and very constructive way."
The border between Canada and the United States, which was shut down to non-essential travel in March, will be closed at least until June 21.
"There's no question that an in-person meetings in an ideal situation are much more effective than virtual meetings. However there are many questions to answer before we can commit to showing up in person," Trudeau said.