JOHANNESBURG – GOVERNMENTS and experts have allayed fears among the general public following the proliferation of fake news linking fifth generation (5G) mobile technology to the raging coronavirus outbreak around the world.
The clarification follows arson attacks on infrastructure and abuse of network engineers in a European country. This was apparently inspired by social media posts falsely claiming the correlation.
There is also some speculation in Africa around the purported link.
Experts demystified the notion during a webinar by the National Electronics Media Institute of South Africa, Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Council for Scientific and
Industrial Research (CSIR), University of Western Cape and Huawei.
“There is no scientific evidence proving the correlation between 5G radiation and COVID-19.The connection is only based entirely on conspiracy theories,” said Dr Albert Lysko, an engineer, researcher and innovator with the CSIR.
Arthur Goldstuck, the information and communications technology (ICT) analyst, also lamented the conspiracy theories linking 5G and COVID-19.
“South Korea was the first country in the world to roll-out 5G on a large scale, followed by the United States,” Goldstuck explained.
“Iran, one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19, has not yet rolled out 5G – giving the instant lie to claims that its 5G deployment was related to the virus outbreak in that country,” he added.
On a global scale, Goldstuck said, no mainstream 5G phones were available in the mass market until the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S20 on March 6, well into the pandemic.
He said what people saw as 5G connections on their phones was in reality a marketing gimmick by operators, who were still using 4G spectrum to connect 5G phones.
“That means that even if one could make a scientific connection, one is connecting the spread of a virus with the non-spread of a communications technology,” Goldstuck said.
Last week, South African Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, also denounced the ongoing rumours, calling it “fake news.”
“The reality is that 5G is a technology, and coronavirus is an organic infection that is based on a living viral agent,” the minister explained.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) meanwhile said it had become imperative provided clarification in view of the recent developments in which “misleading materials with no proven evidence” being circulated to link COVID-19 with 5G technology.
“Firstly, there is no correlation between 5G technology and COVID-19. 5G is an advancement on today’s 4G technology designed to transform the world positively. Secondly, there is no deployment of 5G in Nigeria at the moment,” said Henry Nkemadu, NCC Director for Public Affairs.
– CAJ News