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After UK, people in New Zealand are now burning telecom towers to prevent COVID-19 spread

Mobile operators in New Zealand are warning citizens that phone and internet connectivity could be severely impacted if the attacks on mobile towers continue to happen. The three mobile operators in New Zealand– Vodafone, Spark and 2degrees– backed by the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) are urging community members to report any suspicious activity near cell sites.

“Together the three companies have been subject to 10 suspected arson attacks across Auckland over the past six weeks, out of a total 14 attacks around New Zealand including the Wellington and Northland regions, causing damage and disruption to critical cell site infrastructure,” as per a statement by TCF.

These attacks on cell towers are primarily fuelled by 5G conspiracy theories which claim that the 5G network is somewhat detrimental to human health and cause mental health issues. Interestingly, some conspiracy theorists even believe that 5G networks are somehow linked to the spread of COVID-19.

“We are concerned that telecommunications infrastructure is becoming the target of criminal damage. Not only is this highly dangerous, it also has the potential to cause huge disruption to local people, schools and businesses,” said Geoff Thorn, TCF chief executive.

Last month, top four mobile operators in the UK issued a joint statement asking people to stop burning telecom towers. Some people in the UK targeted mobile towers recently as conspiracy theories linked them to the spread of coronavirus in the UK. Thanks to these 5G theories, some residents actually threatened mobile engineers. Though there’s no scientific evidence linking the two, several posts on social media about these theories have been spreading like a wildfire.

According to a report by BBC, some theorists are “claiming that 5G – which is used in mobile phone networks and relies on signals carried by radio waves – is somehow responsible for coronavirus.” The report further states that these theories are broadly divided into two categories: “One claims 5G can suppress the immune system, thus making people more susceptible to catching the virus. The other suggests the virus can somehow be transmitted through the use of 5G technology.”

—Times of India

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