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‘Slightly tone-deaf’: Passport Canada tweet draws criticism amid coronavirus pandemic

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Passport Canada has deleted a tweet urging people to apply for the travel document for “winter vacation” despite the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

A tweet posted on Passport Canada’s verified account on Friday afternoon urged people to apply for a passport.

“Are you planning a winter vacation but don’t have a valid passport?” the tweet read. “Don’t wait, apply now!”

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In a statement emailed to Global News on Monday, Employment and Social Development Canada said the post “should not have been issued” and was deleted at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“The tweet was meant to ensure Canadians would be aware of their Passport situation and apply early,” the statement reads. “Canadians should continue to follow public health guidelines and guidance regarding travel.”

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Travel Canada has for months been advising Canadians to “avoid all non-essential travel” outside of the country as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“As foreign governments implement strict travel restrictions and as fewer international transportation options are available, you may have difficulty returning to Canada or may have to remain abroad for an indeterminate period,” the agency’s website reads.

Read more: Canada’s coronavirus cases exceed 300,000

Travel Canada has also advised Canadians to “avoid all cruise ship travel” outside of the country “until further notice.”

In March, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, Canada closed its land border with the U.S. and many airports to international flights.

Passport Canada’s tweet comes as a number of countries, including Canada, grapple with a second wave of the virus.

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On Saturday, the country saw 4,617 new infections, bringing the country’s total case count to 291,648.

By 12:30 p.m. ET, 54,127,451 cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Since the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, late last year, it has claimed 1,314,584 lives globally.

Twitter users were quick to question Passport Canada’s tweet.

One user called it “slightly tone-deaf.”

“Majority of folks are unable to visit their family relatives who reside in different provinces yet people can travel overseas for winter vacation?” the tweet reads. “I thought currently non-essential/leisure travel were restricted in [Canada]?”

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“No one should be going for vacation,” another Twitter user wrote.

“Not unless I need a passport to go from my kitchen to the living room,” another said.