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No, 5G won’t infect Lagos residents with Covid-19

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“Tell anybody you know in Lagos to stay home from Sunday, 10 May 2020 to Tuesday, 12 May or Wednesday, 13 May. They are switching on 5G in Lagos on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday,” says a voice note circulating on WhatsApp in Nigeria since 11 May 2020.

In the audio clip an unidentified woman speaking in Yoruba claims she is recording the message to plead with anyone living in Lagos to leave the state immediately. 

She says it wasn’t Covid-19 that caused recent unexplained deaths in Kano, but 5G wireless technology.  

“That's what they turned [on] in Kano that made all of them start dying, and they said it was corona killing them. Within days, 150 had died.”

She then told Lagos residents to flee to neighbouring states. Kano state is in northern Nigeria, whereas Lagos state is in the southwest of the country. 

The audio clip was described on Twitter by some as “fake news”. We investigated.

Deaths in Kano not linked to 5G

Since mid-April 2020, Kano state has recorded a high number of unexplained deaths, rumoured to be in the hundreds.

But the head of the presidential task force on Covid-19, Dr Nasiru Gwarzo, sent to Kano to investigate, linked the deaths to Covid-19.

The task-force said 80% of tests for Covid-19 were positive. As at 11 May the state has had 666 confirmed cases and 32 deaths.

‘No 5G license in Nigeria yet’

The director of public affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr Henry Nkemadu, told Africa Check the allegations in the audio clip were false as 5G had not been linked to coronavirus.

The agency had seen the claim on social media, he said, and there was “no truth to it”.

He directed us to a press statement from 11 May, signed by him: “The Commission has unequivocally stated that there is no deployment of 5G in Nigeria at the moment.”

It added that in November 2019, the commission approved a three-month 5G trial. This had since been concluded and the results were being reviewed so as to inform policy recommendations, according to a number of reports.

“NCC has not issued any licence for 5G in Nigeria and therefore the mobile network operators cannot switch on such technology. NCC is technology-neutral as such we don't license technology but assign spectrum to operators for deployment of any service when allocated by the National Frequency Management Council”, the statement added.

5G-coronavirus link debunked

Africa Check and other fact-checkers have debunked several claims linking the wireless technology and new coronavirus infections.

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection has said no evidence - “not even extremely weak evidence” - links 5G to the Covid-19 pandemic nor is this feasible. The Germany-commission provides scientific advice and guidance on the health and environmental effects of non-ionising radiation.

“EMF exposure from 5G devices does not cause Covid-19, nor does it have any effect on the disease process or health outcomes of those who are infected by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes Covid-19,” noted the commission.

The World Health Organization also said: “To date, and after much research performed, no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies.”

The global health body said: “Provided that the overall exposure remains below international guidelines, no consequences for public health are anticipated [from 5G].”

To understand more about 5G technology, read our detailed factsheet . 

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