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5G virus conspiracy theory fake, dangerous, nonsense: UK

LONDON: A conspiracy theory that links 5G mobile telecommunications masts to the spread of the coronavirus is dangerous fake news and completely false, Britain said after masts in several parts of the country were torched.

When asked by a reporter about the "theory" that 5G telecommunications masts could play a role in the spread of the disease, British Cabinet Officer Minister Michael Gove said: "That is just nonsense, dangerous nonsense as well."

Mobile phone masts have in recent days been vandalised and telecoms staff abused in Birmingham in central England and Merseyside in northern England, damaging connectivity at a time when people are relying on it more than ever.

An arson attack at a tower in Birmingham owned by BT, Britain's biggest telecoms company, caused significant damage.

It provided 2G, 3G and 4G services to thousands of people, but did not have 5G capability, the company said.

NHS England's national medical director, Mr Stephen Powis, said the 5G conspiracy idea was fake news with no scientific backing that risked damaging the emergency response to the outbreak.

"Those are also the phone networks that are used by our emergency services and our health workers and I'm absolutely outraged, absolutely disgusted that people would be taking action against the very infrastructure that we need to respond to this health emergency," Mr Powis said.

Vodafone, the world's second largest mobile operator, said the attacks were now a matter of national security.

"It beggars belief that some people should want to harm the very networks that are providing essential connectivity to the emergency services, the NHS, and rest of the country during this difficult lockdown period," its UK boss Nick Jeffery said. - REUTERS

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