WhatsApp has received a bot from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that will let you stay informed about the latest coronavirus updates. The new move by the international agency would help limit the spread of fake news and misinformation and provide all the necessary information about the pandemic directly through the instant messaging app that has over two billion users worldwide. Similar to the bot designed by the WHO, the Indian government has also launched its MyGov Corona Helpdesk on WhatsApp to provide information related to the coronavirus outbreak.
As tweeted by the official WHO Uganda account on Twitter, the WHO bot provides you with the latest updates related to coronavirus and offer myth-busters around COVID-19 that's believed to be caused by the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The bot can also be used to access the latest number of reported cases, travel advice, and news related to the outbreak.
To receive updates on #COVID19 from WHO add this number— +41 79 893 18 92 to your contacts and send a @WhatsApp message. You'll automatically be registered to receive updates and also have an option to ask for more information as shown below. pic.twitter.com/WXaGd88AGf— WHO Uganda (@WHOUganda) March 20, 2020
To access the WHO bot on your WhatsApp, all you need to do is just add +41-79-893-18-92 to your contacts list and send a message through the instant messaging app. You can also alternatively reach the bot by visiting the dedicated link.
Once you're connected with the bot, you need to send a message to receive the list of available options. You can respond to that list either with the number or the emoji available alongside the options to get your coronavirus-related answers on-the-move.
Alongside providing you with the information related to the disease and its impact, the bot created by the WHO team also gives links related to latest announcements by the agency. It also sends links to informative articles and news stories that you can share with your contacts on WhatsApp.
The latest development by the WHO comes just in a couple of days after WhatsApp launched a dedicated webpage called the Coronavirus Information Hub on its site. It was launched in partnership with the WHO, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to highlight various use cases of the instant messaging app at the time of the coronavirus outbreak. The webpage also lists general tips and resources to provide information on the COVID-19 and let visitors read the latest guidelines set by sources such as the WHO and national health ministries around the world.
WhatsApp also announced a $1 million (roughly Rs. 7.51 crores) grant Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to support fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance that spans over 100 local organisations in around 45 countries worldwide. Furthermore, WhatsApp Head Will Cathcart recently revealed that the Facebook-owned company doubled its server capacity to let people connect with their loved ones over voice and video calls while maintaining physical and social distancing.
In India, the Central government launched the MyGov Corona Helpdesk to create awareness around the outbreak and provide information from health experts.
The coronavirus outbreak has impacted over 253,000 people globally, while its total cases in India reached 195. The pandemic has also taken the lives of over 10,400 people worldwide.