Government hits out at ‘crazed conspiracy theory’ that 5G internet masts spread Covid-19

UK On Lockdown Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

The government has launched a blistering attack against those spreading the "crazed conspiracy theory" that 5G masts are responsible for spreading coronavirus.

Boris Johnson's official spokesman warned on Tuesday that any vandals who destroy 5G masts are putting lives at risk and that they would be speaking to social media companies about clamping down on such misinformation.

"The Secretary of State is due to speak to the big social media firms later on this week to be very clear about the need to stop the spread of what is a crazed conspiracy theory," he said.

"You've seen reports of criminal vandalism against 5G masts, people need to understand that by destroying these masts they're actually putting lives at risk because these are masts that emergency responders rely upon."

The warning comes after UK mobile network providers warned against the spread of "baseless" theories linking coronavirus to 5G, after videos purportedly showing masts on fire were posted on social media.

One of the unfounded claims is that radiation emitted from 5G towers sucks oxygen from the atmosphere and effects people's ability to breath. The petition stated that the UK government should immediately halt the roll out of the network to protect people's health.

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Another claim suggests that 5G could have caused the outbreak because Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus originated, was one of the cities where 5G was first rolled out.

West Midlands Fire Service said eight firefighters attended an incident on Thursday evening, involving a 70-foot tower on a telecommunications site in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham – though a spokesman said the cause was yet to be identified and could not confirm whether the mast in question was 5G.

Several videos claiming to show 5G towers on fire were posted to a page on Facebook, which encouraged others to do the same.

The page was created on Thursday and taken down by Facebook on Friday morning.

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Mobile UK, the trade body which represents network providers, said it is "concerning that certain groups are using the Covid-19 pandemic to spread false rumours and theories about the safety of 5G technologies".

"More worryingly some people are also abusing our key workers and making threats to damage infrastructure under the pretence of claims about 5G," a statement said.

The top four UK mobile operators have also issued a joint statement asking for help to stop people burning 5G towers.

Screengrab of the video showing an apparent arson attack on a EE 5G mast in Birmingham, UK.

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone said that stopping the attacks is critical to keeping communities across the UK connected during the pandemic.

"We are 100 per cent focused on making sure the UK's mobile and broadband networks are resilient, ensuring you, your families and businesses, can keep connected when you need it most," the statement said.

READ MORE: NHS doctor pleads for more coronavirus protective equipment

"Sadly, we have experienced cases of vandals setting fire to mobile masts, disrupting critical infrastructure and spreading false information suggesting a connection between 5G and the Covid-19 pandemic. There is no scientific evidence of any link between 5G and coronavirus. Fact.

"Not only are these claims baseless, they are harmful for the people and businesses that rely on the continuity of our services. They have also led to the abuse of our engineers and, in some cases, prevented essential network maintenance taking place."

There's no scientific evidence to suggest a link, but the theories have been spreading widely on social networks like Facebook.

The networks called for people to stop spreading misinformation online and report vandalism or any abuse of key workers carrying out essential maintenance.

Read more: Government says no plans to tighten restrictions despite warning of exercise ban

Last week, a Change.org petition claiming 5G is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic was removed after receiving more than 100,000 signatures.

Presenter Amanda Holden re-posted it but deleted it soon after.

A spokesperson for Holden told The Independent that she had posted the tweet, which stated: "No to 5G!!! - Sign the petition!", "by mistake from a link she clicked on".

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