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Sri Lankan government spokesperson claims ‘tea can prevent COVID-19’

A spokesperson for the Sri Lankan government has claimED that drinking black tea may help fight against the coronavirus, as Sri Lanka's tea association began selling the product online this week.

Ramesh Pathirana, who is himself a doctor and member of the SLFP, said that there was “circumstantial evidence to say that drinking hot black tea can support the prevention of COVID-19”.

“The inhalation of black tea can help to kill the virus because it is very well known the virus cannot survive if the temperature exceeds 30 – 35 degrees centigrade,” he added.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry was promoting the potential use of black tea as an “immunity booster” this weekend, in tweets it has since deleted. Other Sri Lankan embassies around the world though still have the tweets present, including the Sri Lankan High Commission in Pakistan which tweeted, “IS BLACK TEA AN IMMUNITY BOOSTER FOR COVID- 19?”.

The claims comes as the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association (CTTA) launched an online auction this weekend, in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak on the island, which has led to military-enforced curfews.