COVID-19 myth buster: No link between 5G mobile towers and virus, says DoT

Several misleading messages are being circulated on social media platforms claiming that the second wave of COVID-19 has been caused by the testing of the 5G mobile towers.
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The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications has released a press statement around the misconceptions floating around the connection between the spread of COVID-19 and 5G technology.

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. 

Declaring these messages as "false and absolutely not correct", the statement added that the general public is "hereby informed that there is no link between 5G technology and spread of COVID-19" and 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. Moreover, it is informed that the testing of the 5G network has not yet started anywhere in India. Hence, the claim that 5G trials or networks are causing coronavirus in India is baseless and false.

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. 

To allay the fear of the general public regarding the health effects of EMF emission from mobile tower, DoT has been taking several steps to generate awareness among the public about EMF radiation such as 

  • Nationwide Awareness Programme
  • distribution of pamphlets/ information brochure on various topics related to EMF
  • publishing detailed information on EMF related issues on the website of DoT
  • advertisements in newspapers
  • launch of “Tarang Sanchar” portal where citizens can put a request for EMF measurements/testing among others.

The field units of DoT have also been organising public awareness events so that more and more people are made aware of the scientific facts on the health effects of EMF emissions from mobile towers. 

Earlier this week, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the representative body for the Indian telecommunications industry, also cautioned people against false rumours connecting 5G technology with the spread of COVID-19.

The telecom regulator informed that it has come across multiple messages on social media platforms as well as reports in a few regional media mentioning ‘5G spectrum trials’ as the probable cause of rising cases.

Similar rumours were seen surfacing in Western countries last April. At the time, World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a statement that there is “no adverse health effect causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies”.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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