News Local Spike in 8998 text requests on Friday, Saturday

Spike in 8998 text requests on Friday, Saturday

There was a surge in text message requests by members of the public seeking permission to leave the house on Good Friday and Good Saturday.

According to figures from the deputy ministry of research, innovation and digital policy, there was on average between 200,000 to 230,000 text message requests in the days before the Easter weekend.

Most sought permission under category 2 — to buy essential provisions, followed by category 6 for exercise or to walk their dogs, provided only two went at a time and they remained in their neighbourhood.

However, on Good Friday, the number of requests surged to 280,828 valid requests of which 271,233 were approved.

The number of messages rose even further the next day to 298,185 valid requests of which 287,638 were approved. Half were for shopping.

On Easter Sunday, 173,049 valid requests were sent out, of which 168,018 were approved.

On Monday, the number was back to average with 215,524 valid requests of which 209,555 were approved.

Moreover, about 1000 approvals are given every day through the IVR call centre which was set up only for those who hold foreign phones  (22263030) or members of the public who cannot obtain approval by sms (80012012).

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