The Department of Health has announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa has increased to 1,686.
This is an increase of 31 cases over the last day – the lowest number of new cases since 1 April.
One more person has died from COVID-19, which means that the total number of deaths is now 12.
The deceased patient is a 57-year-old male from the Western Cape, who was admitted on 5 April 2020. He had comorbidities that included diabetes and ischaemic heart disease.
Gauteng has the highest number of cases with 713, followed by the Western Cape on 462 and KwaZulu-Natal on 257.
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Free access to COVID-19 information
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has issued regulations which require that all Internet service providers must zero-rate certain sites with information about COVID-19.
All Electronic Communications Service and Electronic Communications Network Service licensees must abide by the new regulation. This includes cellular network operators like Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom, and Rain.
Sites that must be zero-rated will be identified by the Department of Health by notice in the government gazette “from time to time”.
In addition to zero-rating access to COVID-19 sites, the regulations will also require network operators to provide connectivity for virtual classrooms.
The regulations refer to “Individual Electronic Communications Network Service licensees with access to IMT Radio Frequency Spectrum assignment”. This includes consumer-facing cellular networks like Vodacom and MTN, but also operators like Liquid Telecom.
“The Authority shall determine, after consultation with the relevant Departments responsible for education and communications, the number of district virtual classroom platforms to support virtual teaching during the COVID-19 national disaster, which shall be connected by the Individual Electronic Communications Network Service licensees with access to IMT Radio Frequency Spectrum assignment.”
The provisions above were part of ICASA’s regulations on the information and communications technology industry for the duration of the national state of disaster as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.