The government has advised municipalities to stop sending emergency text alerts on the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the respective cities on growing calls that the system is becoming something of "a nuisance," according to reports quoting the Ministry of Safety on Friday.
Several local governments, including Seoul, have stopped sending texts, according to the ministry. The number of COVID-19 cases, instead, can be found on the websites for each municipality.
Over the last three years, local governments have sent more than 145,000 text alerts, or 132 everyday.
The ministry plans to review overall operations of emergency text alerts on earthquakes, tsunamis and terrorism. Lowering the sound of alerts sent at late hours is among the measures being reviewed. The ministry would cooperate with cellphone manufacturers so that users could adjust the volume by themselves.
Debate has been building over the effectiveness of emergency text alerts, especially after one sent last month for a 3.7 magnitude earthquake detected near Ganghwa, Incheon, at 1:28 a.m. woke up many in the middle of night. No damage was reported.