The spokesperson of the department of health in the Eastern Cape, Sizwe Kupelo, has said that reports that 47 employees at a Checkers store in the Mthatha Plaza, Mthatha, Eastern Cape, tested positive for Covid-19 are fake news.
It was reported that one employee tested positive for Covid-19 and the department had since tested 170 employees from the retailer and those results were still pending.
“We have also tested family members of the employee – their results are still pending too,” the department said.
On Tuesday, DispatchLive reported that the store was closed on Monday due to suspicions over a Covid-19 case.
An employee told the publication that the store had been closed since last Thursday.
The publication reported that its attempts to obtain comment from Checkers were unsuccessful.
The Shoprite Group – which Checkers falls under – had not posted a statement on its website by Wednesday.
However, a statement was published, which dismissed as fake news a WhatsApp message claiming to be from the retailer’s head office in Cape Town, in which it said that certain products would be scarce over the next month.
According to the message, the products included sugar, fish oil, rice, flour and soap powder, and, in the message, people were urged “to stock up and tell friends and family”.
“This is not true. The Shoprite Group’s stores including Shoprite, Checkers and USave are fully stocked on all these products and urge customers not to stockpile as this causes supply chain challenges. The group continues to supply essential products and there is not a shortage of any of the products listed.
“It is against the law to disseminate fake news relating to the coronavirus crisis, or to forward this fake news,” the statement advised.
Meanwhile, as of 10pm on 12 May, there were a total of 1,504 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Eastern Cape, with 106 cases and three deaths in the OR Tambo district where Mthatha is located.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)