Public health and telecommunication experts have detailed various benefits the fifth generation of network technology (5G) will give to many countries to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The experts, who spoke at the Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers 5G health symposium held virtually, noted that the benefits of 5G technology far outweighed its perceived health implications.
While disagreeing that the technology could cause COVID-19 pandemic, the Technical Director, Huawei Technical Support Centre in Nigeria, Uwazie Kingsley, explained that the 5G network had been deployed commercially in over 30 countries as of April 6, 2020, whereas the COVID-19 confirmed cases had been established in more than 200 countries around the world.
However, he said the network had enabled and improved certain medical activities aimed at diagnosing, treating and controlling the pandemic.
He said, “During the epidemic, 5G enabled a large number of applications such as remote medicine, remote prevention and control, and remote diagnosis and treatment, and improved medical efficiency with technology.
According to him, 5G remote diagnoses improve the efficiency of medical personnel; remote treatment by remote experts helps to improve medical efficiency; and 5G mobile trolleys, which is the most popular 5G application, reduce the number of contacts by medical staff to reduce the risk of infection.
Highlighting other non-medical applications of 5G, he stated that the reliability of automatic driving had been greatly improved 5G Internet of Vehicles as it greatly enhanced the awareness of the surrounding vehicles.
A public health physician, Dr Abayomi Afe, explained the 5G was a type of non-ionising radiations such as 2G, 3G, 3G and 4G and did not have sufficient energy to break molecular bonds.
According to him, the most common man-made sources of non-ionised radiations are electricity, telecommunications, radio and TV broadcasting antennas.
He noted that there was a standard radiation emission limit that had been set by the International Commission for Non-ionising Radiation Protection below which the radiation was considered safe for humans.
The public health expert explained that the Nigerian Communications Commission had been regularly conducting measurements of radiation emissions from base stations across the country to ensure they below the set limits.
“5G technology provides the platform for new and emerging technologies such as Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and big data to improve the way people live and work. There is no deployment of 5G in Nigeria at the moment.
“There is no iota of truth that 5G technology is the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus is also spreading in places without 5G networks like Nigeria and many parts of the world that do not have 5G coverage yet,” Afe added.
He stressed that there were no scientific studies to show that electromagnetic emissions from telecoms facilities, including mobile phones, could cause health hazard to humans.
A radiologist at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Dr Effiong Wilson, described the coronavirus disease as a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus named SARCoV-2 , a new strain of a large family of viruses called coronaviruses that could spread from person to person
According to him, large human studies are required to evaluate the effects of 5G, adding that the network was non-ionising radiation and safe for use at exposure limits set by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Computer Society said it engaged in a technical study to assess the possible health effects of 5G technology, the relationship between 5G technology and coronavirus pandemic and any other related public concerns.
In a statement by the President, Nigeria Computer Society, Prof. Adesina Sodiya, the society said it found out that 5G networks did not have energy to liberate electrons and cause damage to human tissues.
He noted countries such as Iran that had no 5G network had high rate of COVID-19 infection and death.
Sodiya urged the government to “develop indigenous knowledge, content and intellectual capacity on 5G and its related technologies, risks, socio-economic value chains, health, opportunities and challenges.”
He advised the government to promote indigenous telecommunications research into biological science such as potential health implications of radiation.School closed? Get access to Complete Secondary School Education (JSS1-SS3) CLICK HERE!
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