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John Haggie, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Health and Community Services, responds to a reporter's questions at a press conference during the Conferences of Provincial-Territorial Ministers of Health in Winnipeg on June 28, 2018.John Woods/The Canadian Press

Newfoundland and Labrador’s health minister is urging people to think twice before meeting up with an online match as they swipe through dating apps during the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Haggie added a plea for safe usage of digital dating tools Thursday as he stressed the importance of physical distancing to slow the spread of the disease.

He said dating apps are seeing increased use as people spend more time at home and seek out company, but they come with risks.

His comments attracted praise on social media, where he’s become popular among Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for his dry delivery of public health warnings at daily news conferences.

This week, one artistic fan shared a photo of a cross-stitched version of Haggie’s plea for parents to stop their children from licking shopping carts at the grocery store.

Haggie said technology can keep people connected during a difficult time, but there are hazards that come with its use.

“Let me warn you, if you use Tinder or Grindr and you swipe right, you might get more than you bargained for,” he said. “Please, be careful when you use these applications.”

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