Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has dismissed reports linking COVID 19 outbreak to the deployment of 5G (Fifth Generation) technology.
Reports have gone viral on social media in recent days claiming that COVID 19 is caused by or linked to the deployment of 5G technology despite the novel virus existing in countries with 5G networks such as Iran which is one of the worst hit countries in the Middle East.
Experts from around the world have come out strongly to debunk this conspiracy theory.
All wireless communications including radio and television broadcast signals sent to astronauts, telecommunications, remote control operations, communication between pilot and airport control room, use radio waves that travel through the space at the speed of light.
The radio waves (including microwaves) are part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
UCC publicist Ibrahim Bbosa said “radiation exists all around us coming from both natural resources such as sun and man made resources.”
He said the radiation waves used for telecommunications fall in the non ionising portion of electromagnetic spectrum.
5G (Fifth Generation) is the latest Communications technology that is taking the world by storm with super fast data speeds, greater data transmission efficiency and lower latency that enables close to real life/ instantaneous information transfer experiences.
When compared to the older mobile telecommunication technologies like 2G, 3G and 4G, such performance will boost the implementation of various development and social applications including but not limited to remote, surgery and other healthcare solutions, automated manufacturing, transport management and smart farming.
The deployment of 5G is being achieved using different frequency bands including those already in use by 2G, 3G and 4G.
Concerns about possible effects of telecommunication towers on human health are not new and have been resurfacing with each new technology.
Bbosa said “the substantial amount of research so far carried out by recognized institutions such as World Health Organization (WHO), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Health Protection Agency (HPA) with regard to the probable health risks do not support these theories.”
He emphasised: “As for COVID 19, experts maintain that it is caused by a virus that spreads through person to person contact and not through radio waves.”
This position is backed by various international and national communications and health institutions including World Health Organization.
The leading global Authority on non ionising radiation is the International Commission on Non Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) which provides scientific advice and guidance on health and environment effects on non ionising radiation to protect the people and environment from harmful exposure.
All radiation frequency spectrum users in Uganda are obliged by Uganda Communications Commission to comply with ICNIRP guidelines in their installations and operations.
The ICNIRP recently published it’s 2020 guidelines on limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields which seek to protect people against all potential adverse health effects related to exposure to 5G technology radiation.
“We know that parts of the community are concerned about the safety of 5G and we hope that updated guidelines will help put people at ease,” ICNIRP Chairman Dr Eric Van Rogen said in a statement.
Similarly, the World Health Organization says it had conducted research and found out that no adverse health effects has been casually linked with exposure to wireless technologies.
On its part, the International telecommunications Union (ITU), the specialized United Nations Agency responsible for ICTs recently put out a statement that there is no scientific basis whatsoever for any relation between the diffusion of Coronavirus and 4G or 5G or electromagnetic waves in general.
In trying to explain the apparent popularity of the conspiracy theory, a social chartered psychologist Dr Daniel Jolley, a senior lecturer in psychology at University of Northumbrian who has made an extensive study on social psychological consequences of conspiracy theories, pointed out that conspiracy theories give people a sense of certainty in the time of uncertainty.
“We know that conspiracy theories are a way to cope with stressful or little understood situations such as Coronavirus so it makes sense that 5G conspiracy has come to the fire,” he said.