A FULL and formal investigation will be launched into allegations of people, who said they were informed that they tested positive for COVID-19 without ever submitting specimens.
The Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe, said such allegations are viewed in a very serious light and the truth of it needs to be verified as a matter of urgency.
“The ministry maintains a high level of integrity with testing so the truth has to be found. We cannot and will not stand for this,” he said.
A resident of Swakopmund, Christian Thiart, in a post on social media alleged that two people he knows went for testing during the recent active search campaign in Walvis Bay. He said both registered for the process and filled out the requisite forms and questionnaires before realising they will have to spend long time in the queue. He said they decided to leave the health facility before specimens could be collected from them.
That said that three days later one of his friends received a call where his friend was informed by health officials that the results of their tests proved positive for infection with COVID-19.
The person explained the situation to health officials and was then apparently threatened with jail if the information of what transpired were made public.
Since posting the allegation, Thiart said he received several threatening calls from a variety of people who said they are from different authorities. He said that he is in contact with his friends who informed him that they are willing to make sworn statements about the incident.
Nangombe said it is crucial to the investigation that the individuals that made the allegations come forward and identify themselves so that the matter can be properly investigated. He said the names of the individuals will be compared to the ministry’s records which are kept very meticulously.
“If found that these highly irregular allegations are unfounded people will unfortunately have to face the legal consequences of engaging in spreading of false information,” Nangombe said.
According to Nangombe the spreading of unverified information is causing immeasurable damage to the effort of the COVID-19 response teams to minimise the spread of the virus among members of the Walvis Bay community.