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(Photo: AP)
(Photo: AP)

Put coronavirus awareness messages in place of ringing tones: DoT asks telcos

The initiative by the mobile operators is due to a direction by the telecom ministry, which was asked to do so by health ministry

Mobile operators have started reaching out to people over mobile on basic preparedness for novel coronavirus infection, or Covid-10, following a request by the Union Health Ministry to the Department of Telecommunications.

“In order to spread awareness, special Covid-19 mobile phone caller tune was launched by all mobile operators with basic infection prevention messages played when a caller dials-out," the health ministry said in an update on the outbreak, adding that over 117.2 crore mobile subscribers in the country are being progressively reached out to through SMSs and call backs.

The initiative by the mobile operators is due to a direction by the telecom ministry, which itself follows a letter by health ministry’s special secretary Arun Singhal to telecom secretary Anshu Prakash seeking that the caller tune be played.

“You are requested to ask the telecom firms to make use of a 30 sec audio we have developed (will be shared shortly on email) as the pre-call notification for a period of three days. Also, telecom firms may be asked to send bulk SMS/push notifications on the simple dos and don’ts to all the clients for which collaboration may be considered with MyGov," Singhal said in the letter dated Thursday. Mint has reviewed a copy of the letter.

The government’s outreach for Coronavirus outbreak comes on the back of the number of cases in the country rising to 34, with 16 being Italian tourists and the rest Indians. Out of the 18 Indians, the three in Kerala who tested positive last month have recovered and been discharged.

Two in Ladakh with a travel history of Iran, and another in Tamil Nadu who travelled to Iran were confirmed today.

Among others currently receiving treatment, there are four in the national capital region, six in Agra who are kin to the first confirmed patient in Delhi, and one each in Jaipur and Telangana.

Since the Coronavirus outbreak started in Wuhan, China in December, there have been over 102,000 infections globally, with the death toll topping 3,500. While over 80,000 are in mainland China, over the last few weeks, the number of cases has risen significantly in a number of cases with South Korea having over 7,000 cases, and Iran and Italy having more than 4,600 cases each, data on a john Hopkins University portal showed.

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