Is 5G network responsible for rapid spread of novel coronavirus?

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-06-04 14:12
A Huawei store in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. [Photo/Sipa]

Rumor: The fifth-generation (5G) telecoms network is speeding up the spread of the novel coronavirus as the cellular network suppresses people's immune systems.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and some fact-checking organizations, there is no evidence that 5G has anything to do with the spread of COVID-19.

Full Fact, a British independent fact-checking charity, has debunked such rumor by saying that "The main implication of the claim -- that 5G can impact immune systems -- is totally unfounded. There is no evidence linking the new coronavirus to 5G," according to Business Insider.

5G is the next generation of wireless network technology, which will offer faster connection speed than its previous generations such as 4G, 3G or 2G, and 5G mobile data is transmitted over radio waves -- a small part of the whole electromagnetic spectrum (which includes microwaves, visible light and X-rays).

"These radio waves are non-ionising, meaning they don't damage the DNA inside cells, as X-rays, gamma rays and UV rays are able to do," Southampton local newspaper Daily Echo quoted a report from Full Fact as saying.

The WHO also noted that viruses cannot travel on mobile networks or radio waves. "COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose," it said.

Moreover, the international health body pointed out that COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.

Full Fact also noted that many of the hardest-hit countries have no 5G coverage, such as Iran. Iran, with 160,696 COVID-19 cases reported up to now, has no 5G masts.

In late May, Australian Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher also warned people about misinformation linking COVID-19 to 5G mobile technology.

"Any suggestions that there is a link between 5G and coronavirus are utterly baseless," said Fletcher.

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