Hoax around the coronavirus caused damage to the telecommunications network in the UK. A number of 5G masts in the UK were burned because of hoaxes which say that 5G causes the coronavirus.
Citing BBC, Sunday (05/04/2020) at least three masts were burned in the Merseyside area and Birmingham last week and is now being investigated by police.
When giving the latest update on the coronavirus in the UK, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove immediately said that this was a dangerous hoax.
“That’s just bullshit, dangerous bullshit,” Gove stressed.
Burning of a mast in Birmingham owned by BT, the largest telco operator in the UK, caused significant damage. This mast provides 2G, 3G and 4G services to thousands of people but does not have 5G capabilities.
Not only that the 5G mast was targeted, the operator’s employees also received threats from the public. Those who are installing fibre optic cables for 5G installation are getting distracted and some people say that when turned on 5G will kill everyone.
This irresponsible action was also denounced by the National Health Service, a public health service provider in the UK. NHS National Medical Director Stephen Powis said the conspiracy and hoaxes about 5G had no scientific foundation and instead threatened the efforts of health workers to deal with this pandemic.
“This 5G story is nonsense, the worst type of fake news. The reality is that this mobile network is very important for all of us,” Powis said.
“This is a mobile network that is used by emergency services and medical personnel and I am very angry, very upset because people are attacking the infrastructure we need to respond to this health emergency,” he continued.
Hoaxes and conspiracy theories about 5G as the cause of the coronavirus have indeed spread along with the spread of this virus. Nigeria isn’t an exception, a lot of people believed this theory. This theory is widely echoed on social media via Twitter, groups on Facebook and WhatsApp.
One theory is that the coronavirus came from Wuhan, China because the city had just rolled out 5G services. But this theory does not count countries like Nigeria, Iran, Japan or Indonesia that have not used 5G but have been exposed to the coronavirus outbreak.
Full Fact fact-checking organizations and several other experts have also denied claims that 5G causes coronavirus.
“The story of 5G has no scientific credentials and certainly is a potential disruption, like other misinformation, to control the COVID-19 epidemic,” said Colorado M.Sc.