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CT man charged with spreading fake COVID-19 news due back in court in July

In a video being circulated on social media, Stephen Birch falsely claimed the medical swabs used by health workers during community screening had been contaminated with the virus.

A screengrab of Stephen Birch, the man who was arrested and charged under the Distaster Managment Act for spreading fake news about COVID-19 testing.

CAPE TOWN - A Cape Town man charged with spreading fake news about COVID-19 testing is due back in the dock in July.

In a video being circulated on social media, Stephen Birch falsely claimed that the medical swabs used by health workers during community screening had been contaminated with the virus.

He was arrested in Parow on Monday.

Stephen Birch made his first appearance in the Cape Town magistrates court on Tuesday. He was released on a warning and his case has been postponed to 14 July.

Birch has been charged with breaching Disaster Management Act regulations.

In the almost three-minute-long video widely shared on social media over the weekend, a man is seen holding an earbud and explains how it would be inserted in your nose and mouth to collect DNA.

He then calls on people to refuse the tests, claiming the medical swabs being used by fieldworkers are already contaminated with COVID-19.

Meanwhile, a 34-year-old Langa woman appeared in the Bishop Lavis magistrates court on Tuesday for public violence and contravening Disaster Management Act regulations.

She's implicated in the looting of a liquor store in Langa over the weekend.

Alcohol and tobacco sales have been banned in South Africa during the 21-day lockdown.

The woman is due back in court next week for a possible bail application.

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

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