“The Ministry Of Health has warned South African citizens that it is no longer safe to eat any bananas from supermarkets in Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria until further notice as some of the fruits contain the HIV virus…,” reads an excerpt of a report which has circulated various social media platforms.
Reacting, the Ministry of Health distanced itself from the circulating report and cautioned South Africans that the report is meant to cause unnecessary panic.
According to the department, there was never such warning posted on its website.
The report however, claimed that Ministry of Health removed the warning from the website so as not to trigger widespread panic among citizens.
“The new plan now is reportedly to disseminate the information through what they only stated as ‘proper channels’ probably state controlled media, (SIC)” said the report.
Nonetheless, the National Department of Health in a statement, described the report as malicious saying it learnt about it since yesterday.
“The statement is untrue, malicious, and diabolic. It is designed to cause unnecessary panic to the public.
We want to state clearly that there was never such warning posted on our website. There are procedures in place to ensure that information placed on our website is accurate and verified by authorized officials of the department. Matters of such public health magnitude are not dealt with simply by releasing a press statement. The Ministry of Health would have convened a media conference to thoroughly inform the public about the risk.
…The Ministry of Health urges the public to ignore the statement. The public must be assured that it is the responsibility of the department to inform the public about any potential risk to their health.”
Adding that this isn’t the first time such rumors have made their way to the public space, The department asserted that it has always been quick to dispel misleading information.