The Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal has welcomed disciplinary steps taken against an employee of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) who allegedly spread a hoax message on social media about coronavirus cases.

In the voice note, the female employee is heard saying there were patients suspected to be infected with the coronavirus who did not receive help at the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi, south of Durban.

The voicenote went viral over the weekend as people shared it to “caution their loved ones.”

The female employee alleges that the six patients were left unattended at the hospital as some of the workers were scared of getting into contact with the virus.

In a statement, the KwaZulu-Natal department of Health said the allegations are false and only serves to spread panic among the public.

The number of infections worldwide has increased to more than 107 000 with over 3 000 deaths.

The majority of cases and deaths have been in China, where the outbreak originated in December but cases are continuing to emerge across the globe.

So far South Africa has recorded three cases.

In the video below, the third case of coronavirus in South Africa is confirmed: