A voice note that has been trending widely across WhatsApp channels claiming that ambulances will not arrive for call outs as of Thursday has been debunked by Public Health England (PHE).
The voice of the person speaking in the message is not identified, although the woman attributes the source to PHE, saying that this information was shared with ambulance services across the United Kingdom.
The note claims that "as of Thursday this week, we will be hitting our peak," adding that there will be 900 deaths per day. The note makes a prediction that one third of the deaths will be babies, children and teenagers with no underlying health conditions.
The note goes on to suggest that ambulances will not go for call outs for people struggling to breathe from Thursday to Tuesday.
In a statement to Euronews, Professor Viv Bennett, Chief Nurse at Public Health England, confirmed that this voice note and content within it are false.
“We are aware of a voice message circulating about the ambulance response to coronavirus, as well as restrictions on movement and predicted case numbers, which claims to have come from PHE. This is fake news, and we would urge people to ignore the message and not share it further,” she said.
On Twitter, PHE said that "it is easy to become worried about online information, some of which may be deliberately designed to mislead people," and encouraged social media users to get their information directly from health organisation channels.
Kent, Surrey and Sussex ambulance service also debunked the clip, saying that "the alarmist information being shared in the message is not correct. We would urge people to disregard the message and not share it further".
This comes one day after WhatsApp aimed to slow the spread of viral false information by limiting the number of times a message can be forwarded at once.