UK gov't begins sending stay at home alerts by text message

Westminster Bridge with parliament in the background

People in the UK have started receiving a text message from the government warning that new rules are in force and that people must stay at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The text message includes a link to the government website which contains more information and exemptions over who’s allowed to go out. With several coronavirus related scams being circulated in the last few weeks, some wondered if this latest text was legitimate; it is.

According to the BBC, some people have already received the message but others are set to get it later in the day. Unfortunately, the government had to work with mobile carriers to get its message out because it doesn’t have an emergency alert system set up, despite successful trials in 2014. If such a system was implemented, text messages could have been sent to the public within 15 minutes of a decision being made. One operator told BBC that the government may have backed away from the system over cost concerns.

If you’ve not seen the text just yet, it reads:

GOV.UK CORONAVIRUS ALERT. New rules in force now: you must stay at home. More info and exemptions at gov.uk/coronavirus Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

Following a televised statement last night, people in the UK are being asked to stay home unless they need to shop for food or medicine or have to travel to work if they can’t work from home. People are also able to go out to exercise once per day but should keep their distance from other people. There’s also a prohibition on public gatherings of more than two people, excluding those you live with. Those breaking the rules can be fined.

Source: BBC News

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