Udayavni Special

Govt says no link between 5G and spread of COVID, urges public to not fall for baseless claims


PTI, May 11, 2021, 4:08 PM IST

The telecom department on Monday asserted that there is absolutely no link between 5G technology and the spread of COVID, as it urged the public not to be misguided by baseless and false messages being circulated on social media platforms. The claim that 5G trials or networks are causing coronavirus in India is “false” and without any scientific basis, an official release said.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said several misleading messages are being circulated on various social media platforms, claiming that the second wave of coronavirus has been caused by the testing of the 5G mobile towers.

“…these messages are false and absolutely not correct…the general public is hereby informed that there is no link between 5G technology and spread of COVID-19 and they are urged not to be misguided by the false information and rumours spread in this matter. The claims linking the 5G technology with the COVID-19 pandemic are false and have no scientific basis,” it said.

The testing of the 5G network has not yet started anywhere in India, therefore the claim that 5G trials or networks are causing coronavirus in India is “baseless”, it contended. “Mobile towers emit non-ionizing Radio frequencies having very minuscule power and are incapable of causing any kind of damage to living cells including human beings. DoT has prescribed norms for exposure limit for the Radio Frequency Field (i.e. Base Station Emissions) which are 10 times more stringent than the safe limits prescribed by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and recommended by WHO (World Health Organization),” it said.

Outlining the initiatives already taken, the DoT said it has a well-structured process so that operators strictly adhere to these prescribed norms. “However, any citizen having any apprehension about any mobile tower emitting radio waves beyond the safe limit prescribed by the department, a request for EMF measurements/testing can be made on Tarang Sanchar portal at https://tarangsanchar.gov.in/emfportal,” the department said. Last week, industry body COAI had expressed concern over false information and rumours linking 5G technology with the spread of COVID-19 and had dismissed the unsubstantiated and unverified claims in this regard.

Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) said it came across multiple messages on social media platforms mentioning 5G spectrum trials as the probable cause of rising cases of COVID-19. “We would like to clarify that these rumours are absolutely false. We urge people not to fall for such baseless misinformation,” SP Kochhar, Director General of COAI said in a statement last week. Several nations have already rolled out 5G networks and people are using these services safely, COAI had emphasised.

COAI – whose members include Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and VI (formerly Vodafone Idea) – had urged the public not to fall for fake messages in this regard. The association had highlighted that telecom services are the lifeline for the nation, especially in the current times. “In fact, these networks are keeping people safe by enabling work from home, online classes, e-health and online doctor consultations…Hundreds of millions of people depend on these networks to access real-time information when they need it the most, COAI had pointed out.

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