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Cele: 8 people arrested for spreading fake news on COVID-19

Authorities have repeatedly warned the public against disseminating fake news about the pandemic because it could spark needless panic.

Police Minister Bheki Cele addressed the media on 28 November 2019. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Bheki Cele said that eight people had been arrested for disseminating false information about the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The minister was in Secunda on Tuesday morning where he's evaluating the implementation of the lockdown regulations.

Authorities have repeatedly warned the public against disseminating fake news about the pandemic because it could spark needless panic.

Those found guilty of the crime could be charged in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

Cele said that South Africans should put their differences aside to tackle the virus.

"These are the times that must we all work together and walk in unison. These are the times that we must put aside any form of enmity. We have an enemy that has the capability of destroying and killing us together."

In the Western Cape, a man's been arrested for posting a video claiming that coronavirus test kits were contaminated.

In the video posted on Facebook, he urges people to refuse testing.

He gave no evidence to support his claims.

The 55-year-old was taken into custody on Monday.

He has been charged in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

Meanwhile, a Cape Town law enforcement officer has been suspended for spreading fake news.

A Plumstead councillor apparently posted a voice note on a WhatsApp group of the official making false claims about what the City of Cape Town intends doing with homeless people during the lockdown.

The law enforcement official claimed that homeless people would be forcibly removed from the city's streets and taken to Pollsmoor Prison then placed under quarantine for a year.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.