The boss of one of the UK's biggest telecommunications companies has hit out at "deluded conspiracy theorists" who torched 20 5G phone towers over the weekend.The mobile technology has been blamed by a series of YouTube users for the spread of coronavirus, leading to arson attacks across the world.In the UK, 20 phone masts were set alight over the weekend, including one which services a hospital in Birmingham.
A woman in England walks past an anti-5G graffiti message. (Getty)Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffrey lamented the attacks on LinkedIn."It's heart-rending enough that families cannot be there at the bedside of loved ones who are critically ill," Mr Jeffrey said."It's even more upsetting that even the small solace of a phone or video call may now be denied them because of the selfish actions of a few deluded conspiracy theorists."Such attacks stop families from saying goodbye to their loved ones, Mr Jeffrey said.
"Imagine if it were your mum or dad, your gran or granddad in hospital," he said."Imagine not being able to see or hear them one last time.""All because you've swallowed a dangerous lie."
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Woody Harrelson linked coronavirus to 5G. (Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)The theory has been perpetuated online by actors like Woody Harrelson and John Cusack and musicians MIA and Wiz Khalifa.YouTube has thus far refused to remove videos linking 5G with coronavirus.The Chief Executive of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) has slammed the speculation as completely baseless.
Suggestions that 5G technology is spreading COVID-19 have been dismissed as 'utter rubbish.' (Craig Abraham/The Age)"These theories are classic fake news and misinformation," Chris Althaus told Nine.com.au last week."It is utter rubbish."These connections are impossible from a biological point of view, and there's been endless research, good, ethical, science-based research that has proven over decades that there's no adverse health outcome from any generation of mobile, let along 5G."To link it in a public health crisis like COVID-19 to further their own agenda is disgusting."Mr Althaus pointed out that the claims being spread on social media don't stand up to any sort of scrutiny.
There is no evidence connecting 5G and the coronavirus pandemic. (George Frey/AFP/Getty Images)"Regrettably social media is a hotbed of misinformation and fake news on a lot of things," he said."We're aware that platforms have been taking an interest in this story about 5G, and hopefully they'll be viewing this fake news very sceptically."These are irresponsible claims. They're fake and have no link to any credible science."At a time when communities in Australia and around the world are working together to counter a major health crisis, to have this kind of scare-mongering going around on social media is absolutely deplorable."According to AMTA, 5G devices have been tested and found to be perfectly safe.5G has not yet been rolled out in countries like Russia, Brazil, Pakistan and Iran, all of which have substantial numbers of coronavirus infections.France has had 15,729 coronavirus fatalities, but does not yet have 5G.