Eastern cape woman faces arrest after lying about having coronavirus so she could be famous


A woman who posed as a patient displaying symptoms of the novel coronavirus in the Eastern Cape, could face criminal charges.

The woman presented herself as potentially being infected with Covid-19 at Grey Hospital in King William's Town, saying she was employed by the 38-year-old man who was on Thursday the first person in South Africa to be diagnosed with Covid-19 after returning from Italy.

The woman refused to give staff more information.

On verification, it was discovered that the woman was unemployed and that the story was a fabrication.

"Understandably, doctors and nurses ran around testing the woman and taking steps to ensure the woman was isolated. The possibility to have a case of coronavirus in the Eastern Cape caused unnecessary panic among the hospital staff and nurses at Grey Hospital.

"This was a childish and selfish hoax by the woman that is condemned with the contempt it deserves," said provincial health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo.

The Eastern Cape Department of Health will be opening a case against the women, confirmed Kupelo.

"Because of the seriousness of the [novel] coronavirus, the Eastern Cape Department of Health will open a case with the police against the woman who lied about having the virus. Her family confirmed to the department that she has no history of mental illness, hence the police will be roped in."

Kupelo also said a WhatsApp voice note in which it is claimed there is a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus at Life Beacon Bay Hospital in East London was a hoax.

In the Western Cape, a suspected case of coronavirus proved negative, after it was found the patient had provided false information on his travel history, according to SABC News.

Western Cape health department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said the suspected case initially matched the case definition based on information provided by the person.

"As per our response protocol, our health response team immediately came into effect. Upon further investigation it was found the person did not meet the criteria for Covid-19 and did not require to be tested.

"We ask the public not to use the Covid-19 situation for personal gain as this leads to misusing of resources and unnecessary panic," he said.

On Saturday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed a second case of the novel coronavirus in Gauteng.

A 39-year-old woman from Gauteng, who was part of the same travel group to Italy as the first case, has been diagnosed with the virus.

On Thursday Mkhize released a statement confirming that the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID) had confirmed the first positive test – a 38-year-old man from KwaZulu-Natal. More than 300 people have been tested for the coronavirus.


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