Apple helps fight coronavirus misinformation by promoting official UK app

With coronavirus misinformation common, either through deliberate hoaxes or honest misunderstandings, Apple is doing its bit to help. The company is currently giving top UK App Store billing to an official government health app.

The National Health Service (NHS) app opens with a symptom-checker and a highlighted link to COVID-19 info …

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Tapping on the coronavirus information link then leads to a screen with five links – or you can simply scroll down to read them all:

  • Advice for everyone
  • Advice for people at high risk
  • Symptoms and what to do
  • Self-isolation if you or someone you live with has symptoms
  • More information

The first section then highlights the current lockdown rules. These are mandatory in the UK for at least the next three weeks:

Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

These are, of course, good steps for anyone anywhere, unless your country has stricter rules.

In France, for example, anyone leaving their home must carry a form which explains why they are outside. Citizens must fill in the date and time they leave their home, so that police can check these details to see how long they have been out, and whether the reason selected appears plausible. Exercise, for example, is restricted to a 1km radius of their home.

In the US, rules vary by state. The White House guidance is only for those sick, vulnerable or living with a sick person to stay at home – but also asks people to adhere to state and local directions.

US coronavirus directions

Apple is expediting approval of apps from reputable sources of coronavirus information, as well as blocking games and entertainment apps based on the virus. The company has also sourced and donated ten million masks to US medical workers.

You can play your own part in fighting coronavirus misinformation by fact-checking links before forwarding them and directing people to official websites and apps for authoritative information.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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