This undated image shows multiple coronavirus-related emergency text messages sent out from the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters and local governments. (Yonhap)
The central and local governments will reduce their emergency coronavirus text alerts amid mounting complaints that frequent arrivals of such messages have increased the public weariness in the prolonged pandemic, the interior ministry said Wednesday.
The revised guidelines for coronavirus-related text alerts, which go into effect Thursday, require only essential information to be sent out to the public and for the alert system to be turned off between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
To deal with growing public fatigue on the matter, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety specifically banned releasing information such as detailed reports on new patients and their itineraries, already widely known virus rules and promotions of local governments' virus responses.The emergency notification system has played a key role in containing COVID-19 by swiftly delivering relevant information, including details on new infection cases and antivirus measures.
But at the same time, more people have complained of its excessiveness and redundancy, with the same information available on the central and provincial governments' websites and social media pages.
More than 15,500 such messages were sent out by state authorities from January to February, which translates into a daily average of 263, according to data compiled by the ministry.
The figure jumped six times from 2,711 recorded in the same period last year when the country was at the early stage of the pandemic.
"It is time to shift how the text alert system works considering the persistence and routinization of the pandemic," Interior Minister Jeon Hae-cheol said, asking people to better utilize online information made available by authorities. (Yonhap)