IN a time where a depressing number of new COVID-19 cases are reported in Walvis Bay on a daily basis, tea branded as 2020-nCov that is said to prevent transmission of the virus, were lapped up at a staggering rate by desperate residents of the harbour town.
Individual tea bags sold for as much as N$400 because a Chinese shop owner in Kuisebmond convinced his clients that the special tea is used widely to cure COVID-19 in China.
The racket was brought to the attention of the Erongo Regional Governor, Neville Andre and the Walvis Bay Urban Constituency Councillor, Knowledge Ipinge, who along with Dr. Amir Shaker was on an inspection tour of nearby clinics where a mass testing exercise is underway on Monday.
Accompanied by members of the Namibian Police the two leaders and the medical officer confronted the shop owner.
According to the Regional Governor, the owner of the shop initially denied allegations that he was selling the tea to any of the local residents but admitted that he and other Chinese nationals are using the tea to boost their own immune systems against Covid-19.
The shop owner’s argument however fell flat when a member of the community showed the two leaders and the medical officer tea she bought from the shop.
“Desperation is making people gullible and thus easy targets for exploitation. People should realise that there is no medicine developed yet that could instantly cure COVID-19 and they should consult with health authorities before using substances that in extreme cases can cause lasting harm or even death,” Andre said.
According to the commander of the Regional Crime Investigations Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu, members of the police confiscated 15 of 2020-nCov teabags from the Chinese shop at the Shop 4 complex in Corris Street.
He said that during a search of several other premises in Walvis Bay an additional seven teabags were found at a house in Theo Ben Gurirab Street and four tea bags were found at Jack Trading in the New Industrial Area of the harbour town.
“The confiscated tea will be sent to Namibian Police Forensic Science Institute to determine whether the bags contain any illegal, prohibited or harmful substance. The investigation will also establish whether the tea was imported into Namibia through the right procedures,” Deputy Commissioner Iikuyu said.