FAKE NEWS ALERT | This is NOT Eastern Cape patient zero
An Eastern Cape woman is living in fear after her picture was widely circulated on social media, with scores of people claiming she had tested positive for the Covid-19 but had refused to be quarantined.
Others have allegedly threatened to kill Thulisa Hlopekazi after her picture was splashed on social media and she was incorrectly identified as the Mercedes-Benz SA employee who had tested positive for the coronavirus.
However, the 33-year-old has never set foot in Germany and works for the department of public works in Port Elizabeth.
In an interview on Tuesday, the Berlin-born woman told the DispatchLIVE that since her picture started circulating on social media, her life has been turned upside down.
“I didn't even go to work [on Monday] because I hear there are threats that I will be killed. I'm afraid for my life.
“I want my name to be cleared so that I can get my freedom back and be able to do things normally. My family doesn't even know what's happening to me since I'm away from them,” she said.
Hlopekazi said the rumour might have started after her cousin posted a picture on her WhatsApp status and followed that with an unrelated update about the MBSA woman who had tested positive for the virus.
Like wildfire, people connected dots and concluded she was the woman who had tested positive after coming back from Germany.
Hlopekazi said: “I have never even been outside the country.”
The mother of one said she reported the matter to the police but had not been given a case number yet.
The circulation of Hlopekazi's picture has been sharply condemned by premier Oscar Mabuyane and health MEC Sindiswa Gomba, who both labelled it as fake news.
Mabuyane and Gomba also called on law enforcement agencies to investigate those who had circulated the picture on social media.