16:41 GMT23 January 2021
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    COVID-19 Puts Nations on Hold (286)
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    TORONTO (Sputnik) - Canada and twelve other states signed a memorandum committing to maintain a free flow of supplies and trade amid the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a Global Affairs Canada statement said.

    "COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge. Maintaining strong coordination with our international partners is critical to mitigating the repercussions of the ongoing challenges we face. Keeping people, goods, and services moving is key in both addressing these issues and ensuring the transition to a strong recovery", Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francois-Philippe Champagne, said in the statement on Friday.

    In addition to the reached consensus regarding trade, the thirteen states agreed that air and maritime transport links must also be maintained, not only for trade purposes but to facilitate the return of nationals to their home countries amid the pandemic.

    The free flow of goods and supplies has emerged as an issue in recent weeks after a number of countries - Canada among them - suggested that the United States is undercutting them to procure essential medical equipment.

    The communique was co-signed by Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

    As of Friday, Canada has registered a total of 31,407 COVID-19 cases and 1,250 deaths related to the disease, according to the latest figures from the country’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

    The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, over 2.1 million people have been infected with the novel coronavirus worldwide and more than 140,000 have died, according to the World Health Organization.

    COVID-19 Puts Nations on Hold (286)
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