Latest Canada COVID-19 news: Trudeau extends border restrictions; Major airline layoffs; Tragedy in the skies

CANADA — An airshow to lift spirits up during the COVID-19 crisis ended in tragedy after a Canadian Forces’ Snowbirds jet crashed in Kamloops Sunday.

One crew member, Captain Jennifer Casey is dead, and another member seriously injured.

Both were part of the aerobatics crew on tour with the Snowbirds — an air show team similar to the United States’ Blue Eagles.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted a message on Twitter, joining Canadians in mourning the loss of Captain Casey, as residents in the area created a memorial outside the Kamloops airport following the crash.

In other developments, the country’s flag carrier Air Canada announced it will be laying off 60% of its workforce, which is at least 20,000 employees — as it deals with lower air traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the federal government has released aid on wage subsidy and financing for large companies, Trudeau couldn’t give a clear answer when asked on the possibility of a government takeover to save the airline.

“Obviously, tourism, airlines, are the kinds of things that people simply are not, are not drawing on right now. That’s why we are going to keep working with various sectors, keep working with specific companies, to try and see what the best way through of supporting workers who depend on those industries for their for their livelihoods but also look at how we can make sure that Canada comes through this intact and even in a good position for the future.”

Provincial governments in Canada may have begun re-opening the economy, but a lot of health restrictions are still in place, leaving many businesses struggling.

Canada and the U.S. also agreed to extend border restrictions between the two counties for another 30-days, after health officials earlier said that the risks for spreading the virus remain high.

“The United States being one country that still has cases and still trying to manage outbreaks and they present a risk to Canada from that perspective so we have to take that into account,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.

This is the second time that Canada and the U.S. are extending border restrictions by limiting non-essential travel between the two countries until June 21st.

“We’re adjusting constantly on what’s the right measures for Canadians to keep that balance right on keeping people safe and restoring a semblance of normality and economic activity that we all rely on… the right thing to further extend for 30 days our borders. We will continue to watch carefully what’s happening around the world, as we make decisions on the next steps.”

Canada has recorded more than 78,500 COVID-19 cases, with more than 5,800 deaths as of Tuesday.

(Cover photo: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a repatriation ceremony for the six Canadian Armed Forces members killed in a helicopter crash in the Mediterranean, at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario, Canada May 6, 2020. Frank Gunn/Pool via Reuters)
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