August 7, 2020

Coronavirus: Mobile networks send ‘stay at home’ text

For the first time, all the UK’s mobile networks are sending out a government message to their customers with details of the new shutdown measures.

The text 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.

Some customers have already received the message, while others are set to get it later in the day.

The government has had to work with the operators to get the message sent because an emergency alert system, trialled seven years ago, was never put into practice.

If it had been, the government could have bypassed the operators and sent messages directly to phone users, as has happened in countries such as South Korea and the Netherlands.

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