Two Indian-origin South Africans in hot water for making light of virus

Updated: 10 March, 2020 07:13 IST | PTI | Johannesburg

The incidents occurred as South Africa confirmed seven cases of COVID-19 on Monday. All are members of a group returning from Italy

This picture has been used for representation purpose
This picture has been used for representation purpose

Two Indian-origin South Africans are in hot water over making light of the coronavirus that is causing global concern. In the first case, an unnamed 55-year-old woman returning to Durban from India was rushed to hospital after she claimed to be carrying the virus. While authorities scrambled to find those whom she had been in contact with, the woman confessed that she had been joking after it was found that she had no symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Later, police investigations found that the woman had been trying to evade arrest on an unrelated charge of fraud and she was immediately arrested. In the second case, authorities have launched a search for the owner of a high-end sports vehicle, who is believed to be of indian-origin, after he was spotted by four independent people driving a vehicle with COVID19-ZN registration plate. The number plate created a buzz on social media, but both the owner of the vehicle and the driver, if he is not the owner, are being hunted down after it was established that the plate was an unregistered illegal one. It is a serious offence in South Africa to drive a car that is not legally registered, with penalties that include the vehicle being impounded and heavy fines for the owner and the driver. Officials from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RMTC) appealed to the public to assist in tracking down the vehicle and its driver or owner.

They said even if an application was made to register COVID-19 as the number plate for a vehicle, they were unlikely to approve it, given the insensitivity it would show towards those affected by the deadly virus. On social media, comments ranged from frivolous ones about the vehicle being safe from hijackers or others wanting to steal it; to admonishing the vehicle user for making light of a serious issue. The incidents occurred as South Africa confirmed seven cases of COVID-19 on Monday. All are members of a group returning from Italy.

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First Published: 10 March, 2020 07:10 IST

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