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False information endangers lives

False information endangers lives

Niël Terblanché

 

LAW enforcement agencies are hard at work to identify the creator and distributor of voice clips on social media that state that the COVID-19 vaccine is killing patients of the Katutura State Hospital.

 

Ben Nangombe, the Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, said the allegations made in the voice clips are unadulterated lies and figments of warped imaginations that do not contain any shred of truth.

 

In the voice recordings, a woman can be heard claiming that she is a nurse at the Katutura State Hospital, that the COVID-19 vaccine is in Namibia, that there is a certain doctor at the hospital forcing people to take the vaccine and that people are dying as a result.

 

“It is unfortunate that despite repeated words of caution and education campaigns regarding the dissemination of correct information on COVID-19, the infodemic fuelled by irresponsible and anarchistic agents of chaos continues to proliferate via social media,” he said.

 

He said the health ministry condemns the audio recordings circulating on social media with the contempt they deserve.

 

“It is most disturbing that the recorders and compilers of these audio recordings are claiming to be staff members within public health facilities. The audio recordings do not only undermine the sterling efforts of our healthcare workers to combat the spread of COVID-19 and provide care to those who are ill, they could also lead to unnecessary loss of life as they seek to dissuade citizens from seeking healthcare when they fall ill,” Nangombe said.

 

Nangombe made it clear that the Minister of Health and Social Services during a briefing from State House informed the nation that the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine is only expected to arrive in Namibia either by the end of January or some time during February 2021.

 

“To date Namibia has not received a single ampoule of the vaccine,” he said.

 

Nangombe said the health ministry will work with law enforcement authorities to identify and hold to account those that are engaging in the despicable conduct of spreading falsehoods as contained in the recordings.

 

“This lawlessness must be dealt with sternly. We count on peace-loving Namibians to assist the Namibian Police in this regard,” he said.

 

He stated that those people that are responsible for the vile act of spreading false information will be held accountable for their actions.

 

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