The World Health Organisation issued this infographic to debunk the myth that there is a direct connection between 5G and COVID-19. (Image: WHO)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dismissed claims that 5G (fifth generation) communication technology can spread COVID-19.

Any new technological development or advancements can be met with a certain level of hesitance.

However, within recent times, 5G technology has been the subject of many conspiracy theories worldwide—including in Trinidad and Tobago where, in December, local communications provider TSTT unveiled its 5G network.

Among the most popular conspiracy theories are that new technology can have adverse effects on the human body. These effects range from claims that the new network generates radiofrequency radiation that can damage DNA and lead to cancer; as well as cause oxidative damage that can cause premature ageing and disrupt cell metabolism.

But strangely, one widely held belief is that the network can be a transmitter of COVID-19. The belief is so widespread that the world’s leading health authority, the WHO, posted a photo on its social media debunking it.

“Viruses cannot travel on radio waves / mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks,” it read.

It also went on to reiterate that the virus is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.

“People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose,” it said.

According to the WHO’s website, “To date, and after much research performed, no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies.”

The website also said the WHO is conducting a health risk assessment from exposure to radio frequencies, covering the entire radiofrequency range, including 5G, to be published by 2022.

On Thursday, the Caribbean Telecommunications Union also dispelled the rumours saying: “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.”

It also said 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.