The government of Namibia is warning the citizens not to trust the claims on social media that the elephant dung can treat the coronavirus or COVID-19, as the novel virus cases rise more rapidly.

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism spokesman, Romeo Muyunda, told Reuters that the government had observed the dung of elephant was rapidly being touted as a coronavirus cure.

COVID-19 in Namibia

Coronavirus

"We have seen on social media people selling elephant dung at exorbitant prices. There is a whole hype around it," he said. Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula said COVID-19 currently has no known cure. "If anybody claims as such, it must be treated as a false claim," he told The Namibian newspaper. Some traditional healers say elephant dung has healing properties including for treating headaches, toothaches and blocked sinuses, but claiming it can cure COVID-19 is a new trend.

The southwest African nation, which initially won praise for containing the spread of the coronavirus, is now seeing a much faster increase in new infections. Its capital Windhoek recently overtook harbor town Walvis Bay as the virus's epicenter, and it now has 4,344 confirmed cases and 36 deaths, according to the latest official tally.

(With agency inputs)