City of London declares state of emergency over coronavirus pandemic

The city of London has declared a state of emergency as officials continue to monitor the increasing impact of the novel coronavirus.

Officials say the declaration will provide the city with all available options to protect the health and safety of individuals and families living in London.

“Recognizing we are in extraordinary times, we need to ensure we have access to any and all resources that may be available to us,” said acting mayor Jesse Helmer.

“We are making this declaration to reinforce with residents the urgency of this situation and the continued threat that COVID-19 poses to London.”

The decision was made in conjunction with Mayor Ed Holder, who went into self-isolation this week and will remain there until the end of March.

“This is the right call, at the right time,” said Holder.

“We’ve been fortunate in London that many have followed advice to avoid large gatherings and maintain social distancing. At the same time, this is an emergency and we need to make sure that message is fully understood by all Londoners.”

This comes the same day the Middlesex-London Health Unit reported six new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 11.

The health unit says those who’ve tested positive for the illness are self-isolating and staff will be following up with their close contacts to advise them to self-isolate for the next 14 days.

A City of London news release says emergency services, like police, fire and EMS, will continue to operate, and the city will continue with minimal operations and essential services.

“We implore each and every Londoner to exercise precautions and take every measure possible to help slow the spread of this virus,” said Helmer.

London residents are encouraged to continue to look to health officials for information about COVID-19. Locally, this is www.healthunit.com. Precautionary measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 include:

  • Avoid non-essential gatherings and stay home as much as possible.
  • Practise adequate physical and social distancing.
  • Wash your hands for 15-20 seconds with soap and use hand sanitizer.
  • Cough or sneeze into your arm.
  • If you have any symptoms, self-monitor and self-isolate, and contact a health-care professional if symptoms persist.
  • If you have travelled outside Canada recently, ensure you self-isolate for 14 days.
  • If you have or suspect you have COVID-19, visit an assessment centre located at Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre or Oakridge Arena, or contact health-care authorities and do all you can to self-isolate and avoid contact with people.

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