PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) has weighed in on the debate about whether the next generation of wireless technology, 5G networks, is fueling the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, insisting that there is no link.
And it has urged residents to desist from destroying 5G infrastructure, as has been happening in some parts of the region and the rest of the world.
The CTU noted that the upsurge in rumours no doubt arises from the introduction of 5G networks around November 2019 and the start of the pandemic in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
“The coincidence led people to think there must have been some causal relationship between the introduction of 5G and the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This misinformation has triggered inappropriate responses from citizens, resulting in the burning and destruction of infrastructure towers in some parts of the world, including Jamaica in the Caribbean,” it said in a statement issued Thursday.
“CTU believes that this is an unfortunate development since the telecommunication infrastructure is essential to our ability to maintain communications and business functions to sustain adequate levels of economic activity while trying to protect the public from the ravages of the CODVID-19 pandemic.”
More than 1.6 million people across the globe have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 97,000 have died.
However, the CTU stressed, the media release on New Guidelines from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), dated March 11, confirms that there is no scientific evidence that supports the linking of 5G to the spread or cause of COVID-19.
Non-Ionizing Radiation (NIR) refers to electromagnetic radiation such as ultraviolet, light, infrared and radio waves. In daily life, familiar sources of NIR include the sun, household electrical appliances, mobile phones, Wi-Fi and microwave ovens.
The ICNIRP concluded that: “…the new guidelines provide better and more detailed exposure guidance in particular for the higher frequency range, above 6 GHz, which is of importance to 5G and future technologies using higher frequencies. The most important thing for people to remember is that 5G technologies will not be able to cause harm with adherence to these new guidelines.”
The CTU has urged the public to “ignore the misinformed commentaries on social media and not to respond inappropriately by destroying critical infrastructures at a time when it is more than ever needed to support all our efforts during this pandemic”.