Road signs along SH6 between Hāwea and Albert Town have been defaced with the words “5G kills”, while conspiracy theories claiming 5G technology helps transmit coronavirus gain traction around the world.
Mark Stewart, maintenance contract manager, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Central Otago, said that the vandalism was “extremely disappointing, particularly given the Alert 4 lockdown situation we are all part of, and potentially puts our road crews at risk when they replace them or attempt to remove the paint. They impair the readability of important safety signs and provide a distraction for drivers and others in a vehicle which could endanger their safety.
“Many of the drivers on our roads are fulfilling essential services transporting food, hospital supplies, fuel and other items which we all rely upon during this lockdown, all the more reason they deserve our help, protection and support.”
There has been a trend in anti-5G vandalism around the world alongside the spread of online theories claiming that 5G - which is used in mobile phone networks and relies on signals carried by radio waves - is somehow responsible for coronavirus. Last week, mobile phone masts were set on fire across the UK.
But scientists say the idea of a connection between coronavirus and 5G is "complete rubbish" and biologically impossible. The National Health Service England's national medical director, Stephen Powis, said the 5G conspiracy idea was “the worst kind of fake news” with no scientific backing that risked damaging the emergency response to the outbreak.
Almost 500 people have signed a petition to stop 5G cell towers being installed in Wānaka and Hāwea since last August. The Facebook group Upper Clutha 5G - Problems and Solutions responded to the graffiti on Sunday in a post that read: “We’re all agreed here that vandalism does not help our cause to raise awareness about the issues with 5G?”
“If anyone has any information on who may have vandalised these signs we would ask them to let us or the police know – 0800 4 HIGHWAYS,” said Stewart.
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