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Two more public officials step down following international travel

Sandra Talbot. Oxford County

Two public figures in the London area are the latest to step from public positions after revealing they recently travelled outside of the country.

Sandra Talbot has resigned from her position on the Southwestern Public Health health board, according to chair Larry Martin, who says the board accepted her resignation.

“Historically Ms. Talbot has been a valuable, engaged member of our Board of Health, fulfilling her responsibilities, and acting in the best interests of the public and community health,” said Martin.

“She acknowledges, however, that her recent decision to travel outside of the country betrayed the trust placed in her, in her role on the Board of Southwestern Public Health.”.

Read more: Member of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine task force resigns after out-of-country vacation

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Talbot, who also serves as a member of Oxford County Council, revealed last week she was in quarantine after recently travelling abroad, but would not say where she went or how long she was there.

The vacant position on the board will be filled by appointment determined by Oxford County Council.

Over the weekend, Woodstock Mayor Trevor Birch issued a statement that was highly critical of Talbot and her decision to travel, saying she “may not have broken the letter of the law, but she sure stomped on the spirit of it.”

Premier Doug Ford’s office says he has accepted the resignation of Linda Hasenfratz as a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Task Force. Hasenfratz, who has been the chancellor of Western University since 2019, travelled to Barbados over the winter break.

Read more: Haldimand-Norfolk hospital chief of staff apologizes for recent trip abroad amid pandemic

Hasenfratz has apologized and stressed that she followed pandemic protocols and has remained in quarantine upon her return.

“I regret my decision to travel, and I apologize to the premier, General (Rick) Hillier and members of the task force for any impact this may have had on their work.”

Officials have pleaded with residents for months to avoid non-essential travel in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, international travel hasn’t been banned by the federal government.

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