MobileUK, a trade association for mobile network operators in Britain, has released figures to illustrate the scale of the destruction caused during the lockdown, as conspiracy theories have been circulating online linking 5G to the outbreak of the pandemic.
It estimates that as many as roughly 90 phone masts, not all of them carrying 5G equipment, have so far been attacked across the UK by those fanatically claiming that the destruction of 5G cables would curb the spread of the contagious disease.
"Theories being spread about 5G are baseless and are not grounded in credible scientific theory", spokesperson for MobileUK earlier told Sky News, warning against "careless talk" that could inflict "untold damage".
"Mobile operators are dedicated to keeping the UK connected", the association stressed, arguing that hindered communication poses a great many threats at this tumultuous time.
When mast attacks were first reported in early April, the prime minister's press service promised to address the issue by warning social media platforms:
"The Secretary of State is due to speak with some of the big social media firms later on this week to be very clear about the need to stop the spread of what is a crazed conspiracy theory", the spokesperson said citing multiple reports of "criminal vandalism against 5G masts".
He went on to explain how vital the equipment currently in use is for fast-track responses to new coronavirus cases:
"People need to understand that by destroying these masts, they're actually putting lives at risk because these are masts which emergency responders rely upon".
Likewise, Stephen Powis, NHS England's national medical director, referred to the "5G stories" as "complete and utter rubbish" praising mobile networks as "absolutely critical".
As of Tuesday, 26 May, the UK has confirmed 261,184 coronavirus cases, with the number of related deaths climbing to 37,000, according to Public Health England estimates. Downing Street has outlined a roadmap for a staged lockdown easing, with schools and a number of non-essential shops set to reopen starting from 1 June.