5G technology safe, claims Potraz

By Staff reporter | 21 Apr 2020 at 19:13hrs
THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has dismissed claims that 5G technology helps transmit coronavirus saying there was no scientific link between the network technology and the spread of the virus.

In a statement yesterday, Potraz said there was no clinical evidence linking the technology to COVID-19, urging the public to desist from spreading conspiracy theories.

"As the global community escalates efforts to defend itself against the vicious and yet invisible enemy, coronavirus, it is deeply concerning and disheartening to note that misinformation and unfounded conspiracy theories are being spewed by some elements of our society into the public domain, through among other channels the internet, causing confusion, anxiety and harm to the global community and its infrastructures," Potraz director-general Gift Machengete said in a statement.

As the world intensifies its fight against coronavirus, social media has been awash with conspiracy theories claiming that the virus is linked to the new 5G technology, which has already been piloted in China.

Many conspiracy theories claimed that 5G, which is used in mobile phone networks and relies on signals carried by radio waves, is responsible for coronavirus. These theories emerged from Facebook posts around the same time the first cases were recorded in the United States.

There are claims that 5G suppresses the immune system, thus making people more susceptible to the virus, while others suggest the virus can be transmitted through the use of 5G technology.

The claims have received widespread backlash from health practitioners and scientists around the world.

"To date, and after much research performed, no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies. Health-related conclusions are drawn from studies performed across the entire radio spectrum including those to be used for 5G," Machengete said.

Zimbabwe, which is battling rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, does not have 5G deployments, Potraz said.

The country has so far recorded 24 cases, including three deaths, as it enters the last two days of the 21-day national lockdown. Potraz said only standardised network equipment is allowed for deployment in Zimbabwe.

"As a minimum, all mobile networks in Zimbabwe are designed and equipped to meet International Telecommunication Union standards, broadly known as International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT) standards. IMT standards, 5G/IMT 2020 included, are designed with utmost human consideration regarding safety and environmental protection," the statement reads.

5G technology is the latest wireless technology, first widely deployed in 2019.

It is expected to increase performance and cover a wide range of new applications, including strengthening e-Health.

However, 5G infrastructure has been vandalised in other countries as conspiracy theories continued to grow on social media.



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