Despite the recommendations from medical researchers and healthcare experts, some countries have already begun lifting restriction amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, some continue to enforce lockdowns in a bid to reduce transmissions until a vaccine or cure comes along. As such, many who remain isolated in their homes are curious about their government's plans in the immediate future. According to reports, Whatsapp moderators have recently flagged a message that claims to be from the U.K. government with details about the lockdown.
In fact, the popular messaging app is not the only platform that is enforcing stricter measures against fake news. Given the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, public health officials do not want people to be misinformed. Hence, everyone is urged to also verify their sources and get their news from official channels or accredited publications.
This was highlighted in a report published by Business Insider wherein the alleged hoax message discusses talking points about the COVID-19 lockdown. Furthermore, it even goes as far as to list a detailed strategy as to how the U.K. officials will gradually ease off its established safety measures to prevent new infections. Last month, Whatsapp made a move to stop misinformation after it imposed a limit to the number of people a user can forward a message to.
It should be noted that this only applies to messages that were flagged by the system as "highly forwarded" which means it originated from a chain of more than five people. This then prevents anyone from sending it to more than one person. A statement from the developers read: "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.
The hoax message from Whatsapp states that starting on Monday, May 18, British citizens will be allowed to "meet up to four friends from other households." Moreover, it was implied the select retailers and outdoor sports facilities will re-open. In June, libraries will supposedly open their door followed by museums and galleries in July. Finally, it pointed to August 10 as the date when restrictions will be adjusted.