WhatsApp users have been warned that a fake message about the UK coronavirus lockdown is being circulated right now. A hoax text is being spread on WhatsApp about when the country’s lockdown measures will be lifted. And the fake alert is doing the rounds just as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to make an official announcement.
The Conservative leader is set to address the nation and give Britain an update on the coronavirus lockdown.
The speech, which will take place at 7pm BST, will lay out a “cautious” roadmap for the UK which has been in lockdown since Monday March 23.
And in the run-up to this address from the PM a bogus WhatsApp message is being circulated which claims to reveal how lockdown conditions will change.
The fake WhatsApp alert allegedly reveals a five-stage plan for the UK to exit the coronavirus lockdown which will finish in August.
The bogus WhatsApp message claims Brits will be able to meet up with four friends from other households, and is designed to resemble official government advice.
But the hoax simply appears to be a mirror of Ireland’s exit strategy which was revealed earlier this week.
WhatsApp last month limited message forwarding to tackle misinformation being spread during the coronavirus pandemic.
At the time the Facebook-owned chat app said: “Even if a message is shared many times, this doesn’t make it true.
“Don’t forward a message because the sender is urging you to do so.”
If you do receive this alleged alert disregard the message, delete it and block the sender if it’s an unknown number.
That’s the advice WhatsApp has previously given when trying to combat the spread of hoax messages.
Ahead of the PM’s speech on Sunday Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has urged caution, saying the nation should not expect any big changes to the coronavirus lockdown.
The comments come as this week the UK became the country in Europe with the worst coronavirus death toll.
Official figures have revealed more than 30,000 people have sadly died from COVID-19 in the UK, which accounts for over 10 per cent of the virus’s global death toll.
Speaking about how lockdown rules could change to the BBC, on Friday Mr Dowden said: “On Sunday, what the prime minister will do is set out the road map ahead.
“So we can start to look to the future, but we’ll have to do so in a very tentative and cautious way. People should not expect big changes from the prime minister on Sunday.
“But what they should expect, and this is what people have been asking for some time, tell us where we’re going. Give us a road map ahead. And that is what the Prime Minister will do.”
Mr Dowden added: “The worst thing that could happen is that after the huge effort we’ve all put in… we don’t want to have a second peak that overwhelms the NHS.”