A telecommunications tower in Melbourne, Australia caught fire and the police think this could be related to the 5G conspiracy. There is a popular (and false) belief that the spread of COVID-19 has something to do with the fifth-generation wireless telecommunication towers. This 5g conspiracy theory has led people to vandalize 5G mobile communication towers. Dozens of towers in New Zealand and more than 50 towers in the UK have been vandalized due to this false belief. While the real reason for how COVID-19 first spread to humans remains unclear, a new study suggests that bats might have been the original host of the new virus. It additionally suggests that the virus potentially spread to humans via an animal, a pangolin or snake, sold in Wuhan’s seafood market .
Effect of coronavirus 5G conspiracy in Australia
The recent mobile tower fire in Melbourne, Australia, is currently being investigated by the police with respect to the conspiracy theory. Victoria police announced that an investigation has been initiated into a fire at a telecommunications tower at Cranbourne West in Melbourne’s outer suburbs. Australian telecom companies are trying to prevent the outbreak of anti-5G arson attacks on telecommunication infrastructure. They are constantly working with the police to look out for such potential attacks. Earlier this month, another dubious fire at a tower in South Australia occurred and is currently being investigated. Another incident in Kyabram in Victoria unravelled where a Nazi flag and two Chinese flags with “#Covid19” were tied to a telecommunications tower.
The WHO has tried to debunk the 5g conspiracy theory and other myths surrounding COVID-19 on its website. With respect to coronavirus and 5G conspiracy, the WHO says that “the Virus cannot travel through mobile networks or radio waves. The pandemic is spreading in many countries that do not have any 5G mobile networks.”
They add that COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets through an infected person when he/she sneezes, coughs or speaks. Individuals can also be infected by coming in contact with a contaminated surface and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.
Effect of the 5g conspiracy theory around the world
Apart from New Zealand and the UK, incidents of vandalizing telecom infrastructure have also been seen in Ireland, Cyprus and Belgium. More than 16 towers have been torched in the Netherlands. Officials in the U.S. and Europe have been observing the situation closely. They are concerned that arson attacks might sabotage vital telecommunications links at a time they’re needed the most. Sceptical beliefs about wireless communication being harmful to health have been around for a long time. The outbreak of the pandemic at the same time that telecom companies were rolling out 5G wireless technology has seen some of those false conspiracy theories amplified.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11th 2020. Since the spread of the virus, various false conspiracy theories have been circulated around that may lead to unnecessary panic. It is important for individuals to not believe in any conspiracy theories or news without fact-checking. Information related to coronavirus that has been published on trusted websites like WHO should be shared.
 Lu, R. (2020) “Genomic characterisation and epidemiology of 2019 novel coronavirus: implications for virus origins and receptor binding” The Lancet [Online] available from: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30251-8/fulltext [accessed January 2020]
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