Misinformation has been circulating the internet in the last few months linking the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with 5G. The association with 5G technology and COVID-19 is thought to have prompted the recent surge in attacks on mobile phone masts and engineers. Dozens of attacks have taken place with conspiracy theorists targeting both infrastructure and key workers in the misguided belief that they are somehow spreading coronavirus. This includes a mast providing mobile connectivity to Birmingham’s new Nightingale Hospital. Damaging the masts which emergency responders rely on endangers the critical work of the NHS and puts lives at risk.
The attacks on masts have also equated to a significant rise in verbal and physical abuse on engineers. Openreach has said there were 68 incidents of verbal and physical abuse since 1 April as opposed to 42 for all of 2019.
Luke Pollard MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport says:
I am aware of the claims shared online about a link between 5G and coronavirus. However, there is absolutely no credible evidence of a connection between 5G and COVID-19. Indeed, the scientific community has said that a link between the two is biologically impossible.
I do support the rollout of 5G because of its vital importance for the UK’s connectivity and future prosperity. ‘Full fibre’ connectivity in our city is well below the national average and better connectivity will equate to more jobs for Plymouth. We must harness all the benefits of 5G.
However, I have grave concerns if Huawei has continued involvement in building the infrastructure. We cannot allow any company that poses a risk to our national security to play a significant role in the development of this technology. For that reason, in March, I voted against Huawei being able to build and run the UK’s 5G Network.
I know there are lots of rumours circulating on the internet about the Coronavirus and some are being deliberately spread by people who want to scare others and cause division. Please always get your news from trusted sources and factcheck news and web stories wherever you can from trusted sources. Stay safe.