The World Health Organization has launched a WhatsApp Health Alert service to assist promote detailed information about the novel coronavirus and Covid-19, a disease that the virus causes in humans.
Those interested in using the alert service can have immediate access to it by logging by opening the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub through a webpage and then chat with the WHO team. The chat window opens in WhatsApp. For an extra method, users can send a WhatsApp text to number +41 79 893 1892 and activate the service and get coronavirus information.
The service is going to be available 24 hours, seven days a week.
WhatsApp and WHO has announced that the alert will react to several prompts and shall assist present official information on topics such as how to protect yourself from infection, travel advice, and debunking Coronavirus myths.
The introduction of the new service appears to be an initiative directed at stopping fake news that is flourishing across the world as coronavirus infection spreads quickly.
According to the WHO and WhatsApp, the service will be refreshed daily with the latest known additions around the virus. Currently available in English, it will roll out in all the official UN languages in the coming few weeks. These add Spanish, Russian, French, Chinese, and Arabic.
The most modern automatic replying helpline joins related ones from not-for-profit or government organizations. These include the Singapore Government, Israel Ministry of Health, the South Africa Department of Health, and KOMINFO Indonesia, according to the host messaging app.
WhatsApp states that to contact the WHO Health Alert, users should save number +41 79 893 1892 in the phone’s contacts. After that, they should just send Hi message to get the information.
Another method is that users should visit: https://www.whatsapp.com/coronavirus from their phone and then click on the link given in this line: Turn to trusted sources, like the World Health Organization or your national health ministry, for the most advanced information and guidelines. Clicking on the send button will open WhatsApp on your phone. The chat will start.
Following the unveiling of the health alert, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, stated, Digital technology gives us an unprecedented opportunity for important health information to go viral and increased 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 valuable health information.
WhatsApp has also declared a grant of $1 million to the International Fact-checking network. This will be, according to a statement, to report on news that may be circulating on various messaging services, including WhatsApp or SMS.
So far, WhatsApp has not published anything, especially for India. However, the newest statement states that it is working with many countries to offer local services as well.