An Auckland restaurant mistakenly stocked Covid-19 pamphlets from the Church of Scientology for its customers without knowing their origin.

The leaflets, titled "How to Keep Yourself & Others Well", feature the colour yellow, not unlike the Government's Unite against Covid-19 campaign.

Inside the pages, the topics of general health, cleaning and sanitising, handling illness or its symptoms and outbreaks are all canvassed with basic information.

However, a barcode on the back takes readers directly to a Scientology website.

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The pamphlets have today been removed from the Mexican Cafe in central Auckland on Victoria St West.

This pamphlet has been dispersed in Auckland.
This pamphlet has been dispersed in Auckland.

General manager Matthieu Ferragati said the owner had not been aware the pamphlets were created by the Church of Scientology International and he was unhappy the barcode was taking people directly to the religion's website.

"We are taking them out just because we are not happy about promoting the Church of Scientology at all."

He also said he could see how the look of the booklets might have confused people about their origin, with the colours being similar to the Government's campaign.

University of Auckland associate professor Dr Siouxsie Wiles told Newstalk ZB the most reliable websites for information about the current pandemic were: covid19.govt.nz, health.govt.nz and www.who.int.

Wiles said she would be "thinking twice" about booklets from organisations where it was not clear if it could be trusted.

A recent study that looked at the top-viewed videos on YouTube, that were an hour long, found about a quarter of them were fill of misinformation, she said.

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"Those had been viewed the most times. We know misinformation is spreading very fast and it can be very dangerous."

Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles. Photo / File
Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles. Photo / File

Wiles had simple advice for dealing with those who were handing out pamphlets on the street.

"You can always just be polite. Just take the pamphlet and then pop it in the recycling bin."

The Ministry of Health and Church of Scientology has been approached for comment.

The Church of Scientology shares the beliefs of founder L. Ron Hubbard, who first described them in the 1950s.

According to its Auckland website, a fundamental premise of the religion includes that man is immortal spiritually, with an experience that surpasses a single lifetime and that his capabilities are unlimited.

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A Ministry of Health spokesperson told the Herald there was no problem with individual organisations, whether religious or others, "choosing to share general hygiene advice, which is what this appears to be".

"These booklets appear to be being created and shared globally and are not specific to New Zealand. The organisation's brand and name are on the brochure."

Anyone wanting official health advice relating to Covid-19 should go to the Ministry of Health website or Covid-19 site.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website