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Canada's Trudeau says 'significant' health questions remain about in-person G7 meeting

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pauses during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada May 1, 2020. REUTERS/Blair Gable/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - 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 canceled 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.

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.

French President Emmanuel Macron is open to traveling to the United States for an in-person G7 meeting if the coronavirus pandemic situation allows, an Elysee official said last week.

Reporting by Steve Scherer, Editing by Franklin Paul and Will Dunham