Federal officials urge Canadians to observe Diwali virtually amid coronavirus surge

Politicians and leaders are asking Canadians to observe the holiday of Diwali virtually today in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 cases across the country.

Read more: ‘Do it at home’: B.C. officials urge small gatherings on eve of Diwali

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says in a video statement posted to social media that he understands celebrations will look different this year, and asked residents to celebrate online with friends and family.

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Diwali is a South Asian celebration, lasting five days and honouring the victory of light over darkness.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, says she understands the difficulty of not being able to celebrate with friends and family, but says doing so is important as Canada sees a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Read more: Rapid coronavirus tests slow to be used as officials unsure of best use, reliability

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh urged those celebrating Diwali and the Sikh celebration of Bandi Chhor Divas to do so while respecting health guidelines.

He says doing so will help allow future celebrations to take place in-person.

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