Canadians mark Easter as COVID-19 continues to cause pain, grief for many

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other leaders across the country are taking a rare day off from updating the nation on the COVID-19 crisis as Canadians celebrate Easter today.

Yet even as people gather with their families both physically and virtually for the holiday, the pandemic continues to cause pain and grief for many Canadians whose health and livelihoods have been devastated by the illness.

The federal government is expected to release later today updated figures on the number of Canadians who have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as the number that have died from the respiratory illness.

In a written message marking Easter, which comes nearly one month after the country started locking down to slow the spread of COVID-19, Trudeau commemorated the personal sacrifice and compassion that many Canadians are exhibiting during the pandemic.

Easter Sunday arrived with desperately needed aid for Canadian businesses and workers after Parliament on Saturday approved a massive $73-billion wage subsidy program aimed at helping them survive the economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new coronavirus has claimed the lives of at least 653 people in Canada while the number of confirmed and presumptive cases on Saturday stood at 23,318.