WhatsApp and WHO launch a chatbot to answer questions surrounding coronavirus

Yesterday we reported about Microsoft’s new chatbot that was deployed by the CDC to help people seek appropriate medical information surrounding the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Now, WhatsApp has teamed up with the World Health Organization (WHO) to create a chatbot that can answer questions surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. To get started, text “Hi” to +41 79 893 1892 on WhatsApp and you will get a series of text messages with the latest information about the outbreak. The aim of the chatbot is to curb the spread of misinformation on the platform. You can also visit the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub, and click on the WHO link on the homepage to open up a chat with the WHO Health Alert if you have WhatsApp installed.

Digital technology gives us an unprecedented opportunity for vital health information to go viral and spread faster than the pandemic, helping us save lives and protect the vulnerable. We are proud to have partners like Facebook and WhatsApp, that are supporting us in reaching billions of people with important health information.

– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO

Yesterday, the company also announced a $1M grant to the International Fact-Checking Network to support fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, to report on rumours that may be circulating on various messaging services including WhatsApp or SMS.

Do note that the chatbot will help you get answers surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and help you identify fake news. The chatbot is not a replacement to an actual medical staff and you should call a doctor if you’re not feeling well or have known symptoms of coronavirus.

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