Mum wows the internet with her amazingly organised 'quarantine home'

Inside mother-of-four’s incredibly organised house after she transformed it while working from home – and her tricks for keeping it sparkling clean at all times

  • Ashlee Durand is an interior specialist and mother-of-four from country Victoria
  • She is staying sane during the COVID-19 pandemic by rearranging her home
  • Ms Durand has cleaned every inch of the house to protect against coronavirus
  • People were amazed after she shared photos of her stunning home on Facebook 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A mother-of-four is keeping her sanity intact while at home amid the intensifying COVID-19 pandemic by rearranging her space and ‘deep cleaning’ it from top to bottom – with envy-inducing results.

Interior specialist Ashlee Durand, 32, organised each room of her country Victoria home with meticulous precision after thoroughly sanitising every inch of the property to protect her young family from coronavirus.

Ms Durand’s styling has attracted hundreds of fans after she shared photos of her immaculately organised home in an Australian parenting group on Facebook.

‘Taking this time to fine tune my organisation and give the house a deep clean,’ she captioned the images which show a spacious home decorated in a grey, white and baby pink colour scheme.

Mother-of-four Ashlee Durand (pictured) is keeping busy during extended time at home by cleaning, organising and restyling her country Victoria home in a chic grey, white and pink colour scheme 

Ms Durand’s styling has attracted hundreds of fans after she shared photos of her immaculately organised home in an Australian parenting group on Facebook 

Her pantry is neatly stacked with clear jars and preserving tins, all carefully labelled to explain what’s inside

What are the products Ashlee swears by for a tidy home?

* Dyson’s stick vacuum: She said she uses this two or three times each day.

* KOH’s cleaning products: Ashlee said she uses these everywhere.

* BI CARB AND VINEGAR: Ashlee uses this to clean out the dishwasher, washing machine and her kitchen sinks.

The pantry is neatly stacked with clear jars and preserving tins, all carefully labelled to explain what’s inside.

Cutlery and utensils are slotted into white and marbled pots, while kids’ sized bags of popcorn and crisps are laid out in trays emblazoned with the word ‘Snacks’.

A basket filled with clean tea towels and ceramic pink jars filled with coffee, sugar and tea are arranged on the kitchen counter.

Even behind closed doors, drawers and presses are arranged with precision, with plastic containers housing cleaning sprays and mesh boxes holding carefully rolled cleaning cloths and dusters under the kitchen sink. 

The bathroom remains uncluttered with hair, beauty and tanning products stashed neatly in boxes beneath the wash basin.

The master bedroom is filled with pristine white pillows and plush grey throws, while a small personal organiser with compartments for pens, notes and personal documents hangs from the side of the perfectly made bed.

The colour scheme is only interrupted in the children’s bedrooms, which are playfully decorated with polka dot wallpaper and their names emblazoned beside their beds.


Drawers and presses are arranged with precision, with plastic containers housing cleaning spray under the kitchen sink (left) and boxes holding beauty and hair care products under the bathroom wash basin (right)

The colour scheme is only interrupted in the children’s bedrooms, which are playfully decorated with polka dot wallpaper and their names emblazoned beside their beds

Despite her seemingly lavish interiors, Ms Durand previously told Daily Mail Australia she only buys clearance furniture and household accessories from discount retailers Kmart, Target, Big W and Adairs.

‘I never pay full price for anything. You can save hundreds by doing this and there are always great sales on and brilliant clearance items,’ she said.

She also trawls Facebook Market for unique artwork and one-of-a-kind fixtures.

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BT announces vital broadband news and customers will welcome the changes

BT broadband customers are getting some very welcome news this weekend as the telecoms firm has announced a swathe of changes that are aimed at helping its users get through the coronavirus pandemic. BT says it is putting in place a range of measures designed to help those staying at home, including offering unlimited broadband to all customers and removing out-of-bundle charges.

Announcing the measures, BT’s Consumer CEO, Marc Allera, said: “With more of us spending time away from family, friends and work because of Coronavirus, using digital technology to stay connected has never been more important.

“It’s a very difficult and uncertain time for us all – and we’re constantly assessing this fast-moving situation and thinking about what more we, as a business that’s central to the UK’s digital society, can do.”

So what’s exactly changing if you subscribe to BT?

Firstly, the firm has said it is now offering unlimited home broadband for all. This means BT is removing all caps on home broadband plans so every customer has unlimited data to use whether working from home, keeping the kids connected to school or streaming the latest films.

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Next, there’s better access to the NHS online with EE and BT Mobile customers being able to access this vital website without using any of the data in their plan – even if they’ve run out of data completely.

Finally, BT is says it is committed to helping its most vulnerable customers with it removing out-of-bundle charges for the most critical services, such as UK landline and mobile calls, and placing a £5 per month cap so people can make the essential calls they need to keep in touch, without worrying about their bill.

News of this update comes after BT also promised to keep all of its customers connected.

The firm says it is confident its broadband service can survive the onslaught of people logging on during the coronavirus outbreak. The broadband firm says its networks are built to support “evening peak” network capacity, which generally equates to at least ten times daytime demand.

“Even with a massive increase of people working from home, broadband traffic won’t reach the levels of peak times where millions of people stream HD video at the same time,” said Allera. “That’s the kind of traffic we’ve built our networks to support.

“We’re making sure there’s plenty of capacity in the network and that critical services are supported, and our network has more than ten times the amount of capacity needed for normal everyday use.”

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WhatsApp unleashes most important upgrade yet to help users combat coronavirus

WhatsApp has unveiled new plans to fight the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. First up, the Facebook-owned chat app is donating $1million to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to support rigorous fact-checking and prevent the spread of misinformation around the potentially fatal COVID-19 virus. Elsewhere, WhatsApp will also run an up-to-date hub of the latest information and guidelines from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) accessible to its 2 billion users worldwide.

WhatsApp is comfortably the most popular messaging platform available, so it makes sense that parent company Facebook believes it can use this expansive network to ensure people have the latest information about the spread of the novel coronavirus, which started in China in November and has since infected 199,585 people worldwide, resulting in 7,981 deaths.

In the UK, some 1,950 people have contracted the respiratory infection, with 60 fatal cases.

Dubbed the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub, the hub will be available today at whatsapp.com/coronavirus. According to the chat app, the hub is designed to “provide simple, actionable guidance for health workers, educators, community leaders, nonprofits, local governments and local businesses that rely on WhatsApp to communicate.”

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However, the website will also be a resource for WhatsApp users who want to find out general tips on how to reduce the spread of rumours and connect with accurate health information about COVID-19 as the virus continues its spread across the globe.

As Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other world leaders have urged people to self-isolate and reduce any contact with other people, messaging apps like WhatsApp will become increasingly important to safely keep in touch with friends, family, co-workers, and those who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

In its newly-launched hub, WhatsApp promises to share “quick guidance on how small groups can make the most of WhatsApp features”.

Not only that, WhatsApp is also working with the WHO and UNICEF to provide messaging hotlines for people around the world to use directly. These hotlines will provide reliable information and will be listed on the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub.

To date, WhatsApp has worked with a number of national health ministries and NGOs to provide factual information to users via text in countries including Singapore, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, and Indonesia. As these efforts continue, the hub will be updated with the latest resources.

Speaking about the efforts in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Head of WhatsApp Will Cathcart said: “We know that our users are reaching out on WhatsApp more than ever at this time of crisis, whether it’s to friends and loved ones, doctors to patients, or teachers to students. We wanted to provide a simple resource that can help connect people at this time.

“We are also pleased to be able to partner with the Poynter Institute to help grow the amount of fact-checking organisations on WhatsApp and to support their life saving work to debunk rumours.

“We will also continue to work directly with health ministries around the world for them to provide updates right within WhatsApp.”

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  • Microsoft launches coronavirus map to help YOU track the pandemic

And WhatsApp isn’t the only Silicon Valley technology company scrambling to help out during the current crisis. Microsoft has launched an online map tool that tracks the spread of cases across the globe in real-time. It also provides access to the latest news reports about COVID-19.

Google currently has 1,700 engineers building a similar online tool. According to reports, Google’s project will be much more than an infection tracker and news portal and will also include information on the symptoms of COVID-19, risks associated with the disease, as well as information on the testing centres nearest to you.

In a statement about the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub, Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said: “Getting up to date information about COVID-19 to local communities around the world is a critical piece of the international community’s efforts to stem the spread of the virus.

“Partnerships with private sector companies like WhatsApp will help get this vital, real-time information from the World Health Organization and local health officials to billions of users around the globe.”

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Microsoft beats Google to launch coronavirus map to help you track the COVID-19 pandemic

Microsoft has launched an online portal to help users track coronavirus infections across the globe. The tool was built by the team behind Bing, the search engine developed by Microsoft to challenge Google, and uses the latest statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Most importantly, unlike some popular coronavirus maps – this is not a fraudulent tool designed to spread malware onto computers and smartphones worldwide.

The Bing tracking tool shows the total number of worldwide cases as well as a breakdown of how the number of active, recovered, and fatal cases that make up that total number. It also has a list of countries with reported cases, listed in descending order.

Tapping on a specific country will bring up more detailed statistics, as well as a selection of the latest news reports about the virus outbreak. In the United States, Bing allows users to see the overall statistics for the country, as well as a breakdown for each state.

There is also a map that shows the spread of COVID-19, which was first reported in China back in November. There is currently no vaccine for the viral strain.

Microsoft General Manager for Bing Growth and Distribution, Michael Schechter announced the online tool, stating: “Lots of Bing folks worked (from home) this past week to create a mapping and authoritative news resource for COVID19 info.”

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If you’d like to check out the website yourself, head to bing.com/covid

Microsoft isn’t the only technology company building online tools to help those worried about the global pandemic to track the spread of the disease. Google currently has 1,700 engineers building a similar online tool. According to reports, Google’s project will be much more than an infection tracker and news portal and will also include information on the symptoms of COVID-19, risks associated with the disease, as well as information on the testing centres nearest to you.

The Google online portal is being built by Verily – a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet that focuses on healthcare services.

The World Health Organisation has officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The last time it declared a global pandemic was in 2009 during the H1N1 influenza outbreak.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has advised against all non-essential travel and told all Britons to avoid restaurants, pubs, theatres and cinemas in a bid to stop the spread of the virus. Tougher measures, including advising all people over the age of 70 – statistically one of the most at-risk groups – to stay home in self-isolation for the next 12 weeks.

According to the statistics collated by Bing, more than 183,500 people have now contracted COVID-19 worldwide. While almost 80,000 of those have recovered, some 7,200 have died.

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How Samsung hopes to fix the biggest problem with its 8K TVs

8K resolution is setting the standard for televisions and it’s not hard to see why. These pixel-packed TVs offer four times the resolution of 4K, which means you get a much sharper picture on the screen. This new technology is becoming particularly important for those who want bigger televisions on the walls of their living rooms. 8K resolutions result in a much clearer picture when super-sizing the screen.

To show off just how good 8K really is, BT Sport and Samsung recently broadcast live footage from a Europa League clash between Arsenal and Olympiacos directly to a TV situated within the Emirates stadium.

Express.co.uk was at Arsenal’s ground in North London to watch this historic event – and left very impressed. The footage on the Samsung QLED screen looked better than the action taking place metres away on the actual pitch.

BT Sport says it hopes to begin broadcasting 8Kto BT Sport subscribers in the coming months, but attempting to view this pin-sharp content at home could come with a warning.

Firstly, you’ll need to splash out on expensive 8K television to access the footage but you’re also going to need some top-notch broadband.

BT will be pushing 8K to the public via the web and you’ll need a connection of around 80Mbps to get a stutter-free experience. 80Mbps is almost double the UK average and, until things get better, that could seriously limit the mainstream appeal of 8K broadcasts.

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Luckily, Samsung is well aware of this broadband issue and has partnered with a number of firms to try and fix it. To address these connection woes, experts from Samsung Research and advanced R&D hub within Samsung Electronics’ SET Business, have developed an AI Codec known as AI ScaleNet. First introduced at Samsung’s SDC19 event, this innovation enables the delivery of 8K content on networks that typically support only 4K speeds – without the need for additional infrastructure.

AI ScaleNet utilises deep learning technology to minimise data loss during compression and enable 8K content to be streamed on networks with lower bandwidth capabilities.

In a nutshell, 8K content is compressed to 4K quality using an AI downscaler. The crunched-down picture is then transmitted to the user’s TV, which then upscales the content back to 8K quality.

“With AI ScaleNet, users will be able to enjoy 8K-quality content, even at lower bandwidths,” said Samsung researcher Youngo Park.

“In fact, during periods of high network traffic, when speeds tend to drop, viewers can still expect content to be presented at a relatively higher quality.”

Samsung now has big plans for this versatile technology. “AI ScaleNet has shown us that by overcoming challenges, we can help usher in the future and enrich the user experience,” added Park.

“Going forward, we will continue to research and develop additional functionalities that add to users’ convenience, and through cooperation with content service providers, we hope to empower diverse services for Samsung devices.”

Expect more news on 8K broadcasts in the UK in the coming months.

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Warning: Checking this Coronavirus map lets hackers attack your Windows PC

Checking the spread of Coronavirus worldwide can be hugely important for public health. However, a popular online tool designed to track the outbreak has been unmasked as a means for cyber crooks to spread dangerous malware onto PCs across the globe. If you’ve visited the website to check the number of cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide …your PC might already be battling its own infection.

Hackers are jumping on the coronavirus outbreak as a means to spread dangerous malware to computers across the globe, researchers have stated. One of the most popular tools designed to map-out the spread of the novel coronavirus, which can lead to the potentially fatal COVID-19 virus, has been used to spread the AZORult malware.

If you’re unfamiliar with the name – this is a particularly nasty strain of malware. This digital virus is designed to steal sensitive information from your machine, including usernames and passwords for online accounts, addresses, credit card numbers, and more.

AZORult isn’t new. In fact, it has been circulating among cybercriminals for around four years, changing hands on underground forums in Russia and fuelling a number of devastating campaigns online. The malware laced into the coronavirus map appears to be looking for online credentials. This could allow the hackers to place orders in your name, withdraw money from online accounts, or more.

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If you use the same email address-password combination for a number of your online accounts, it’s important to change each of these to a unique combination – especially if you believe your machine has been infected by a malware strain like AZORult. This is because hackers would only need to acquire the login credentials for a single account to be able to access a slew of logins in your name – leading to more sensitive information being leaked to the cyber crooks.

Password managers, like LastPass or 1Password, are a good way to securely manage your accounts since you only need to remember a single password – the one that unlocks the vault. Every other online account has its own randomly-generated password by the app.

The threat from the coronavirus map was unearthed by Reason Labs researcher Shai Alfasi. In a blog post about the threat, Alfasi posted: “The password-stealing operation process is simple because the malware steals the ‘login data’ from the installed browser and moves it to ‘C:WindowsTemp’.”

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Users do not need to download an app to run risks from this particulate malware. Interactive browser dashboards – like the one that displays live updates on the novel coronavirus spread, which has infected more than 110,000 people worldwide and caused 4,000 deaths – can be infected by AZORult.

To ensure your computer is safe – crucial as more and more businesses encourage employees to work from home – avoid accessing any such maps or links under any circumstances, Shai Alfasi cautions.

As the novel coronavirus spreads, cyber attackers are increasingly exploiting the popularity of COVID-19 related resources, so be careful out there.

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Rural internet coverage set for massive boost as networks join forces

Rural internet and phone usage is set for a massive boost after the big telecom companies agreed to join forces.

The UK’s four largest mobile networks have agreed a deal with the government to invest in new and existing phone masts to improve coverage in rural areas.

The Shared Rural Network (SRN) will see EE, O2, Three and Vodafone work together to end poor mobile phone coverage.

The four networks will invest in new and existing phone masts, overseen by a jointly owned company called Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited, which they would all share.

The £1 billion deal is set to bring guaranteed coverage to 280,000 premises and 9,942 miles (16,000km) of roads.

The investment will also lead to indirect improvements in other areas over time, the government said, including better coverage on 27,962 miles (45,000km) of roads and indoor signals for around 1.2 million businesses and homes.

The networks will invest £532 million as part of the deal, with the aim of closing almost all partial not spots – areas where there is currently coverage from some operators, but not all.

The scheme will lead to increases in coverage in some areas by more than a third, the government said, with the biggest improvements in rural parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The deal means network combined coverage will reach 95% of the UK by the end of 2025.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “For too many people in the countryside a bad phone signal is a daily frustration.

‘So today we’re delivering on the Prime Minister’s 100-day promise to get a £1 billion landmark deal signed with industry to end poor and patchy mobile rural coverage.

‘This is an important milestone to level up the country, improve people’s lives and increase prosperity across the length and breadth of our United Kingdom.’

In response to the announcement, a spokesman for industry regulator Ofcom said: ‘We welcome this agreement, which will make a real difference to all mobile customers right across the UK.

‘We are making the coverage commitments legally binding by including them in operators’ licences.

‘We’ll also monitor and report on companies’ progress in bringing better coverage to people and businesses.’

Philip Jansen, chief executive of the BT Group, which owns EE, said the Shared Rural Network is ‘something we can all be proud of’.

O2 boss Mark Evans said: ‘The collaboration between the industry, Government and Ofcom should be seen as a leading example of how to deliver infrastructure investment and we look forward to now rolling the Shared Rural Network out as quickly as possible.’

Three chief executive Dave Dyson described the deal as a ‘game-changer for the country’.

Vodafone UK boss Nick Jeffery said: ‘A rural postcode should not be a barrier to receiving a decent mobile signal.

‘Together, we have created a programme that is unmatched anywhere in the world. It will mean an end to mobile ‘not spots’ for people in the more remote areas, whether they are at home, at work or on the move.

‘We will now get on with the job of delivering it.’

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WhatsApp is terrible for your smartphone, and here’s the proof

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app on the planet, with the team behind the service recently celebrating two billion users chatting to friends and family with the app. But these users may not know one big downside of WhatsApp and what impact it can have on their smartphones.

According to new research from Uswitch, WhatsApp is one of the worst offenders when it comes to battery drain. In fact, the massively popular chat app came fourth in the “Drain Nation” report, which looked into the top 50 most popular apps from Google Play Store, the Apple App Store, and Windows Apps.

Along with WhatsApp, it’s also bad news for those who use Google apps, as well as the main Facebook app and its Messenger. So, why are these popular applications so bad for your power pack?

Well, Uswitch says that based on the permissions they require, Google, Facebook and WhatsApp are the biggest drains on our batteries. Facebook – along with others in the top 10 – runs constantly on mobile phones in the background and is accessing over 50 permissions including; contacts, location and media.

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In its report, Uswiutch said: “Poor battery life is the biggest bugbear for smartphone users the world over. Although battery sizes are getting bigger, most mobiles still struggle to get through one day of heavy usage without getting low on power. And considering all the demands we put on our devices, it’s hardly surprising.

“But, what really drains the battery is the apps your phone uses. And, more specifically, it’s the permissions these apps require in order to give you the best possible experience. This can be anything from accessing your camera, calendar or contacts to using your location or Wi-Fi.”

Here’s the top 10 battery drain apps according to Uswitch:

1. Google
2. Facebook
3. Facebook Messenger
4. WhatsApp
5. Amazon Alexa
6. Gmail
7. Uber
8. Waze
9. Google Chrome
10. YouTube

Although WhatsApp is being accused of draining batteries there is something that may help to make things last a little longer. WhatsApp has just released its new Dark Mode for Android and iPhone which adds a striking new look to this service.

Although not confirmed, some are speculating that this mode could help extend battery life especially if your phone has OLED screen.

OLEDs expend less energy when the screen is dark which is why power can be extended when this option is switched on.

You can find out how to switch on WhatsApp dark mode here.

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NOW TV customers can watch Disney+ movies and shows …but there’s a catch

NOW TV viewers will soon be able to enjoy shows and movies from the Disney+ subscription service on their existing hardware. The Sky-owned service has managed to strike a deal with the House of Mouse to include both the traditional Sky Q satellite service as well as the contract-free NOW TV streaming option. However, there is a catch.

While Sky Q customers will be able to tune in to a raft of exclusive Disney+ shows as soon as the service launches in the UK on March 24 those on NOW TV could face a much longer wait. Parent company Sky hasn’t revealed when customers who subscribe to its NOW TV side project will be able to access Disney+ shows like The Mandalorian, High School Musical: The Musical: The Show, and The World According To Jeff Goldblum.

The only hint is that NOW TV support will arrive “in the coming months” …so hopefully in time for The Mandalorian season two, which is due to land in October 2020?

There’s no word on how the Disney+ will work on Sky Q, but it seems likely Sky will treat the subscription service in the same way that it currently manages Netflix. The video on-demand service has its own app, but is also deeply integrated into the core search functionality – so you’ll be able to see when a title is available on the Sky Store and as part of your Netflix subscription.

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Whether the Netflix-style integration also extends to adding Disney+ directly to your monthly Sky bill remains to be seen. On NOW TV, we’d imagine the House of Mouse’s streaming catalogue will be a separate contract-free “Pass” that you can buy at any time to get a month of viewing. Sky currently offers its own Sky Cinema, Sky Sports and Entertainment TV channels on this basis. Reality TV streaming service Hayu is also available on NOW TV.

Disney is currently trying to drum-up subscribers for its Netflix rival by offering a £10 discount on annual subscriptions. From today to March 23, Disney fans will be able to sign-up for a year of the streaming service for £49.99 …but whether this will work on your Sky Q or NOW TV boxes remains to be seen.

Clearly, there are a number of questions still lingering. But those with Sky or NOW TV kit in the house will be pleased to learn they won’t have to free-up another HDMI plug around the back of the telly for a new set-top box dedicated to Disney+.

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Speaking about the news Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, Sky, said: “We’ve built a strong partnership with Disney over three decades and we’re pleased that our customers in the UK and Ireland can continue to enjoy their world-class content – all in one place on Sky Q. This is a great start to what is set to be another stellar year for Sky – in 2020 we’ll launch new channels and genres, start building Sky Studios Elstree and we’ve got brilliant new and returning originals coming too.”

Going forward, Disney+ will be the on-demand home of new films and shows from the House Of Mouse. So, don’t expect Black Widow or any of the upcoming slate of Marvel films to launch on Netflix or Prime Video over Disney+ anytime soon.

Disney+ will be available on a wide range of devices at launch, including Samsung Smart TVs, video game consoles, iPhone, Android, and tablets. On March 24, Disney+ will launch in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland. Additional European markets, including Belgium, the Nordics, and Portugal, will follow sometime in summer 2020.

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O2 DOWN – Customers can’t make calls as issue hits O2 and Tesco Mobile

The O2 network appears to be down and not working this morning as hundreds of customers are reporting issues with making and receiving phone calls.

The popular UK mobile service which is one of the biggest in the UK appears to have hit problems at around 10am with the calling issue affecting people across the whole of the country.

Independent website monitor, DownDetector, is showing a surge of issues with thousands of Tesco Mobile users currently hit by the outage.

DownDetector is an independent website which tracks social mentions around certain topics to detect outages across the globe.

There’s no word on what is causing the issues but O2’s status page is confirming that there are problems with making calls.

When checking for problems in areas across the UK the page reads: “Sorry a phone mast in this area isn’t working. This means your service might come and go until we fix it.”

Customers have also taken to forum pages to complain about the problems with one saying: “Is there something wrong with the network today? No mobile.”

Whilst another simply said: “I can’t make calls.”

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