Cops on the hunt for person claiming to have visited pet store after testing positive for Covid-19

2020-04-02 13:24
(Photo by Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

(Photo by Gallo Images/Alet Pretorius)

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Police are tracing the person behind an email sent to a pet store in Randburg, Johannesburg, on 28 March, in which it is claimed they visited the store after testing positive for Covid-19.

National police spokesperson Vish Naidoo confirmed on Wednesday that an investigation was under way to identify the person behind the email and the veracity of the email’s contents.

The Cat Box Pet Hyper store in Randburg received an email from a person purporting to be "Megan Du plesis".

According to the email, the person allegedly visited the store on 26 March to buy food for their pets after he/she tested positive for Covid-19.

"I had no other option but to risk and get my babies food before I get into self isolation. I urge you (sic) team to do yourselves a favour and get tested. My sincere apologies," the email read.

Covid-19 email, Cat Box Pet Hyper

Email sent to Cat Box Pet hyper store in Randburg, claiming to be from a customer who visited the store after testing positive for Covid-19. (Supplied)

Cat Box Pet Hyper's national manager JP van Huyssteen confirmed to News24 the email was sent to their store and the matter was immediately handed over to police.

News24 emailed the sender's address on Wednesday, but the emailed bounced back, indicating the account no longer exists.

After receiving the email, Van Huyssteen said they also tried to contact the alleged customer, but the mail also bounced back.

Covid-19 email, Cat Box Pet Hyper

Screenshot of a test email bouncing back.

Naidoo said they were treating the matter very seriously and the police were in the process of tracing the person behind the email account.

"We are in a phase now where we can’t take it lightly. We can’t rule out the possibility that it could be a prank, we can’t ignore it," Naidoo said.

He added that police advised the store to take the claims seriously and institute all necessary protocols, including the evacuation and self-isolation of employees at the Randburg store.

Police have called on the person behind the email to come forward and contact them.

READ | Cape Town man arrested for spreading fake news - report

In a Facebook post by Cat Box Pet Hyper on 30 March, management announced that staff members from both the Randburg and Linden stores were in self-isolation.

The Linden store employees were asked to self-isolate because a staff member from that store may have come into contact with the staffers from the Randburg branch.

"Our Randburg and Linden stores will be closed until further notice to take necessary steps and measures as per government instructions. We will also be sanitising the store as per the official regulations," Cat Box Pet Hyper management said in the Facebook post.

"Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time. Note that all other Cat Box Pet Hyper and Cat Box Express stores are open and trading as per the Covid-19 lockdown trading hours."

Van Huyssteen said all employees in self-isolation are in good health and are not showing any symptoms of the virus.

Read more on:    johannesburg ­  |  health  |  coronavirus
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