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Cleveland Police Chief warns of arrests for anybody inducing coronavirus panic

'It is a crime.'

CLEVELAND — As local officials gathered Thursday morning to brief Cleveland City Council on the current situation regarding coronavirus, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams had a warning for the community.

“It is a crime in this city to falsely induce a certain type of panic,” Chief Williams said. “People basically saying, ‘Hey, I have the coronavirus,’ without actually having it or having symptoms, it is a crime. It is an arrestable offense and it’s something that we should be cognizant of. It’s something our community members should know is going to waste a lot of valuable resources, and on top of it, get them a criminal charge if they are found not to have that.”

Chief Williams said this is a situation where people need to be careful.

“We talked about this a lot with the hoaxes that happen at schools with active shooters and things like that when people call in threats. It’s a crime. At this particular point in time in our country and the world, we should be coming together to make sure we can do everything we can to get through this and not to unnecessarily panic, folks.”

He also addressed a situation that happened at City Hall on Wednesday.

“We had a little scare in City Hall yesterday, and the person was not found to have – at this particular time – be infected with the coronavirus."

The first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Northeast Ohio earlier this week.

RELATED: Coronavirus and Ohio: The latest updates

RELATED: List: Northeast Ohio institutions, locations, & events that have been closed, restricted due to coronavirus threat

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