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Canada asks regulator to probe maskless party on airline as COVID cases soar

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MONTREAL – Canada’s minister of transport on Tuesday called for an investigation into reports of maskless revelers on a recent airline flight, as the country battles soaring cases of COVID-19.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said on Twitter he had asked regulator Transport Canada to investigate media reports of passengers snapping selfies, drinking alcohol and congregating close together on a Sunwing Airlines flight.

The French-language Journal de Montreal said the Sunwing Airlines flight from Montreal to Cancun, Mexico, on Dec. 30 was chartered by a private group.

“I am aware of the reports of unacceptable behavior on a Sunwing flight,” Alghabra said in a tweet.

“We must take the risks of COVID seriously!”

Sunwing, a Toronto headquartered leisure operator, and Transport Canada were not immediately available for comment.

“This is unacceptable behaviour from passengers that puts our cabin crew at enormous risk,” said Rena Kisfalvi, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local which represents Sunwing flight attendants.

“We need the airlines and the federal government to support and protect our members against this kind of mob behaviour and make sure it never happens again.”

Canada’s most populous provinces have closed in-school learning until Jan. 17, with hard-hit Quebec shuttering restaurant dining rooms and enacting a curfew from 10 pm to 5 am to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and rising hospitalizations.

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