Eastern Cape to crack down on coronavirus hoaxes

The virus magnified.
The virus magnified.
Image: 124RF/DRMICROBE

The Eastern Cape health department is taking legal action against individuals spreading false information and hoaxes about the coronavirus in the province.

This comes after a woman who falsely presented herself as potentially being infected with the virus checked herself in at Grey Hospital in King William’s Town on Friday.

According to health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo, the woman claimed to be an employee of a man she said had recently came back from Italy with the virus. “She refused to give staff her information and that of the faceless man she had claimed was his employer,” Kupelo told DispatchLIVE.

“But upon verification and speaking with her family, it was established the woman had fabricated the story as her relatives confirmed she is unemployed.”

Doctors and nurses “ran around” testing the woman and taking steps to ensure the woman was isolated, he said.

This was a childish and selfish hoax by the woman that is condemned with the contempt it deserves. People who yearn for attention should seek other means to get the spotlight instead of lying about a global health crisis.
Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo

“This was a childish and selfish hoax by the woman that is condemned with the contempt it deserves. People who yearn for attention should seek other means to get the spotlight instead of lying about a global health crisis.”

Kupelo also slammed a voice note circulating on social media in which a man claims there is a confirmed case of coronavirus at Life Beacon Bay Hospital in East London. This also proved to be a hoax.

“Because of the seriousness of the coronavirus, the Eastern Cape department of health will open a case with the police against the woman who lied about having the virus,” Kupelo said.

“Her family confirmed to the department that she has no history of mental illness hence the police will be roped in.”

He also called on law enforcement agencies to “leave no stone unturned” in tracing the man who recorded and circulated the voice note.

“We would like to assure South Africans that the department will be transparent should there be a confirmed case in the Eastern Cape.”


X