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Coronavirus: New city tipline looks to crack down on Londoners violating COVID-19 orders

Coronavirus around the world: March 27, 2020
WATCH: The top COVID-19 stories from across the globe for March 27, 2020.

Are you a non-essential business defying government orders to close amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

How about a Londoner going to the grocery store despite recently testing positive?

Or maybe a traveller failing to self-quarantine for two weeks after returning from south of the border?

If you’re any or all of these things, the city has a message for you: follow COVID-19-related orders or face the consequences.

READ MORE: Ontario government issues emergency alert on COVID-19 due to coronavirus pandemic

To prove they’re not bluffing, the city, in partnership with the London Police Service (LPS) and the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU), says a new tipline has been set up to crack down on those flouting provincial orders and municipal closures.

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Londoners can contact the tipline by email or phone to voice concerns about non-essential businesses that are still open, large gatherings of 50 or more people, Londoners not following federal government quarantine orders, and people taking part in activities at closed outdoor structures.

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“Everyone has the responsibility to follow all of the orders that have been issued by governments, and to take every precaution possible to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Dave O’Brien, the city’s division manager of corporate security and emergency management, in a statement Friday.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 967 active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, province now at 18 deaths

Despite efforts from health and government officials in reinforcing the importance of physical distancing and, if necessary, self-quarantining, O’Brien says they continue to see people not paying attention.

“When we receive a call or email through this new process, we will work with our community partners at LPS and MLHU to enforce the restrictions that have been put in place,” he said.

Londoners can utilize the tipline by emailing COVIDOrderConcerns@london.ca or by dialing 519-661-4660.

The city says the email address will be monitored 24/7, while the phone line will be monitored Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Coronavirus: Quarantine law doesn’t guarantee compliance
Coronavirus: Quarantine law doesn’t guarantee compliance

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.