Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) Director-General Dr Gift Kallisto Machengete says there is no scientific link between the Fifth Generation cellular mobile technology (5G) and COVID-19 or the spread of the global pandemic.
The director-general says frequencies used in the 5G network are new to mobile phones phone networks but have been studied for more than seven years and have for a long time been commonly used in other applications, such as point-to-point radio links and body scanners for security checks.
“POTRAZ, as a science-based statutory body with responsibility over the safe and orderly rollout of telecommunication networks in Zimbabwe, would like to make it clear to the citizenry and public at large, that the purported link between 5G and COVID-19 is a falsehood, which has no scientific basis nor real evidence backing it,” Machengete says.
“Even outside the scientific realm, evidence abounds that many countries, Zimbabwe included, which are yet to rollout 5G are heavily afflicted by the pandemic, while some countries with 5G have very few, if any, confirmed cases.”
The director-general also said assures that only standardised network equipment is allowed for the deployment in Zimbabwe.
“As a minimum, all mobile networks in Zimbabwe are designed and equipped to meet International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standards, broadly known as International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) standards,” Machengete says.
“IMT standards, 5G/IMT 2020 included, are designed with utmost human consideration regarding safety and environmental protection.”
Equipment used in Zimbabwe operates within guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) according to Machengete.
Conspiracy theorists link the use of 5G to the spread of COVID-19.
“Resultantly, in a number of countries, 5G and communications infrastructure, in general, have been subjected to acts of vandalism, arson and various acts of sabotage as citizens seek to ‘free themselves’ from a technology they believe is the underlying cause of the deadly pandemic,” Machengete explained.
“For the avoidance of doubt, however, we wish to stress that Zimbabwe does not have 5G deployments and yet it is a well-known fact that COVID-19 is in our midst, and the number of cases is increasing by the day.”
“We strongly remind members of the public that under Zimbabwean law, network vandalism or intentional damage to critical information infrastructure is a criminal offence which, upon conviction, carries a minimum of ten years in jail.”