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Conspiracy theorists who claim 5G linked to coronavirus believed to burn cell towers in Europe

Conspiracy theorists who claim 5G linked to coronavirus believed to burn cell towers in Europe
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Conspiracy theorists in Europe have allegedly set fire to several 5G towers in recent weeks, erroneously believing the mobile network is connected to the coronavirus pandemic.

The United Kingdom has reported about 50 fires targeting towers or other 5G equipment this month and officials have made three arrests, according to The Associated Press.

Trade group Mobile UK said telecom engineers have also been abused on the job on 80 occasions. Dutch 5G towers have also been the target of fires at least 16 times with other attacks in Cyprus, Belgium and Ireland.

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Social media posts among conspiracy theorists have encouraged attacks on the structures, with one user sharing a picture of a burned phone mast in an anti-vaccine Facebook group with the caption “Nobody wants cancer & covid19. Stop trying to make it happen or every pole and mobile store will end up like this one,” according to the AP.

Damage or sabotage of the structures is of particular concern during the pandemic, as keeping phone lines, internet and other forms of communication open is vital. One of the British towers targeted supplies voice and data traffic to a field hospital in Birmingham, England, where coronavirus patients are treated.

“It’s heart-rending enough that families cannot be there at the bedside of loved ones who are critically ill,” Nick Jeffery, CEO of wireless carrier Vodafone UK, wrote on LinkedIn. “It’s even more upsetting that even the small solace of a phone or video call may now be denied them because of the selfish actions of a few deluded conspiracy theorists.”

“To be concerned that 5G is somehow driving the COVID-19 epidemic is just wrong,” Jonathan Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health and chair of a recent World Health Organization committee analyzing links between cellphone radiation and cancer, told the AP. “I just don’t find any plausible way to link them.”