Australians have been warned to beware of misinformation linking Coronavirus to 5G mobile technology.
Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher, said that spreading that type of misinformation could be harmful, with recent arson attacks on mobile phone towers in the United Kingdom and New Zealand as evidence.
“Causing damage to mobile phone networks can cut vital connectivity, risking serious harm, even death, if a person is unable to contact Triple Zero,” Mr Fletcher said.
His warnings were supported by the Australian Government’s Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy.
“There is no link between 5G and COVID-19,” Professor Murphy said.
“5G does not cause COVID-19. It does not spread COVID-19. Nor does it increase the severity of COVID-19 or make people more susceptible to COVID-19.”
He said the scientific evidence showed that wireless telecommunications, including 5G, do not weaken people’s immune systems and do not place us at higher risk of getting viruses such as COVID-19.
“Turning off your WiFi will not protect you from COVID-19,” Professor Murphy said.
“The best way you can protect yourself is to practice physical distancing and good hygiene, and to stay at home if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms.”
He said those measures, along with downloading the COVIDSafe app, were the best defence against the virus as States and Territories begin to ease restrictions.
The defence of 5G was echoed by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).
The Agency said that after many decades of research, it was well established that exposure to radio waves at very high power levels could cause excessive heating of the human body.
It said that in order to protect people from the harmful effects of high-power radio it had developed a safety standard that sets limits for exposure to radio waves for the public and for workers.
It said these limits for networks such as 5G were set well below the level at which harm might occur.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), Chris Althaus said the false claims linking 5G and COVID-19 had caused great concern in the community during a genuine health crisis.
“The Australian mobile phone networks, consisting of 3G, 4G and 5G, are critical during these challenging times – especially when we are asking people to stay at home,” Mr Althaus said.
“All generations of mobile technology, including 5G, have a major role to play in enabling Australians to stay as connected as possible as well as enabling industries to be more productive and efficient in order to respond to this health emergency.
“Other sources around the world have labelled the idea of a link to COVID as complete rubbish and biologically impossible,” he said.