No scientific evidence linking 5G to coronavirus, say experts
Experts have slammed conspiracy theories linking 5G to coronavirus Covid-19.
“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 from CSIR, adding that the deployment of 5G is important in building the digital ecomomy.
During a 5G webinar organised by the National Electronics Media Institute of South Africa, many questions were raised about the safety of 5G technology, but experts debunked the myths.
"We use the ICNIRP guidelines in South Africa, as in the majority of the world. As long as the device and base stations comply with these guidelines, there should be no negative health effects,” assured Marnus Van Wyk from Alphawave.
Chief Director of Radio Frequency Spectrum at Communications Ministry, Dick Sono said while over-exposure of radiation can be harmful to humans, there are guidelines to ensure that humans are not overexposed to radiation.
"2G, 3G and 4G have been also deployed under the same guidelines and operators deploying the network have followed this strict guidelines to deploy the network .The same will be applied to 5G Networks," said Sono.
Prof Antoine Bagula from University of Western Cape emphasised on the Sono's point of guidelines, adding that the non-ionizing radiation with low radiation is a low risk to human health.
“Radio frequency spectrum falls under non-ionizing radiation with low energy that is a low risk to human health. Today if you take X – rays which are a form of ionizing radiation, which by the way can be dangerous to you, you are covered by lead. You know why? It’s because they are following guidelines to ensure that you are not over exposed to radiation," said Bagula.
Radio waves involved in 5G and other mobile phone technology sit on the low frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Less powerful than visible light, they are not strong enough to damage cells.
ICT analyst Mr Arthur Goldstuck crushed the claim that 5G deployment was related to the pandemic outbreak in particular countries. "South Korea was the first country in the world to roll-out 5G on a large scale, followed by the United States. 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."
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has also previously spoken out against the ongoing rumours.
“The reality is that 5G is a technology, and coronavirus is an organic infection that is based on a living viral agent,” Mkhize explained.
However, some social media platforms have started to take action against fake news.
YouTube has reduced the amount of content spreading conspiracy theories that it recommends to users and removed some of the conspiratorial content, since that could “that could misinform users in harmful ways.”
“We also have clear policies that prohibit videos promoting medically unsubstantiated methods to prevent the coronavirus in place of seeking medical treatment,” a YouTube spokesperson said.