Coronavirus: Ministry of Health warning after fake news article says six confirmed cases in Wellington

Authorities warn an article published online claiming people have tested positive to coronavirus in Wellington is completely false.

The attention-grabbing headline "Six test positive for coronavirus in Wellington", published on news-ap.com, was brought to Newshub's attention by several people who said they'd seen it circulating on Facebook.

According to the report, citing a statement from "authorities", five Kiwis and a Chinese resident had tested positive in the capital.

The fake report.
The fake report. Photo credit: news-ap

The claims have been quickly shut down by the Ministry of Health. A spokeswoman told Newshub they were made aware of the article on Sunday.

"Authorities have made no such statement and that 'message' is without foundation," she said. "There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand."

She said the ministry is committed to providing advice and public information as soon as possible, should a case be confirmed in New Zealand.

Newshub has contacted news-ap.com for comment. The site's origin is unclear as no information is provided on its page, other than an email address.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says 11 Kiwis on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Japan may be evacuated in a joint mission with Australia. 

There have been almost 70,000 cases of coronavirus - which has officially been named COVID-19 - confirmed so far, the vast majority of which are in China.  

The death toll currently stands at 1670, with all but five of those deaths occurring in China.

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