Zweli Mkhize warns of fake 5G conspiracy theory, as SA's Covid-19 recovery rate surpasses 1 million

14 January 2021 - 12:40
Health minister Zweli Mkhize says Covid-19 isn't spread through 5G. 'Viruses cannot travel on radio waves and mobile networks.' File photo.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize says Covid-19 isn't spread through 5G. 'Viruses cannot travel on radio waves and mobile networks.' File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

SA has reached a milestone of more than one million Covid-19 recoveries, with the cumulative rate now at 80.6%. 

“Our recoveries now stand at 1,030,930, representing a recovery rate of 80.6%," said the health ministry report on Wednesday.

While this is much-needed good news, health minister Zweli Mkhize issued a warning on Wednesday against misinformation and conspiracy theories about the spread of Covid-19 “through 5G network towers”. 

“5G mobile networks do not spread Covid-19. Viruses cannot travel on radio waves and mobile networks. Covid-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.”

The minister further reiterated that the virus is spread through respiratory droplets from Covid-19 positive individuals.

“Covid-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface then their eyes, mouth and nose.” 

Chairperson of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng, on Monday urged South Africans not to be “swayed by these conspiracy theories that are hell-bent on bringing instability and fear within the nation”.

“We all need to rely on scientifically-based evidence and refrain from these baseless theories,” said Modimoeng.

“Some of the frequencies earmarked for 5G deployment by industry players were previously assigned to various operators in SA - way before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in 2020.”

Last week, three cellphone towers were torched in KwaZulu-Natal in what is suspected to be related to a resurgence of 5G network conspiracies. Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said the towers belonged to telecom providers Vodacom and MTN.

They were burnt in the Durban area between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ndabeni-Abrahams condemned the incidents.

“It is regrettable that much-needed network infrastructure is being destroyed. The country needs resilient and high-speed connectivity for every citizen to enable them to participate meaningfully in the digital economy. Furthermore, mobile telephony is crucial in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic,” she said. 


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