Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Rod Phillips, travelled on an international vacation in December while COVID-19 cases continued to surge in the province.
Ontario’s public health system yesterday identified 2,553 more people infected with this COVID-19 virus, the highest single day total during the pandemic. On Monday, 41 more people died from COVID-19.
Ontario cases continue to grow even as numbers in Prairie provinces have started to decline as a result of restriction to prevent the social interactions that allow the virus to spread from person to person. Ontario only instituted stronger restrictions on December 26.
Phillips said his vacation was “previously planned” and that he would have cancelled the trip “had I been aware then of the eventual December 26th Province wide shut down.” Phillips said he participated in Cabinet meetings while away on vacation.
On December 22, Ontario Premier Doug Ford launched several broadsides against the federal government’s handling of air transport, saying international air travel was an “extreme risk.”
Phillip’s office said he would not be saying where he went or how long he stayed.
The 2,553 new cases reported today were found from 34,112 tests, a test positivity rate of 9.7 per cent. Currently, a backlog of 32,850 tests have not been processed.
In Ontario, 864 are in hospital due to the seriousness of symptoms, including 304 people who are in hospital intensive care units.