Avoid fake news: you can now WhatsApp WHO for Covid-19 updates

23 March 2020 - 17:08 By AFP Relaxnews
Simply message the WHO Health Alert service to get the answer to Covid-19 FAQs.
Simply message the WHO Health Alert service to get the answer to Covid-19 FAQs.
Image: 123RF/racorn

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a WhatsApp service that uses a chatbot to instantly answer your Covid-19 queries.

The service, called the WHO Health Alert, has been designed to "answer questions from the public about Coronavirus, and to give prompt, reliable and official information 24 hours a day, worldwide."

The chatbot can be reached at +41 22 501 76 55 on WhatsApp, and you can start the conversation by messaging "hi".

The menu of the WHO Health Alert service on WhatsApp.
The menu of the WHO Health Alert service on WhatsApp.
Image: WHO

We tried it, it works; just keep in mind that +41 is the code for Switzerland when adding the number to your contacts.

Once you've typed "hi", you're presented with a list of options that can be selected by entering a specific number or emoji. You can get information on the latest number of coronavirus cases and deaths around the world at regional level; tips on how to protect yourself from the virus; and get the answer to several frequently asked questions.

There are also links to more in-depth situation reports and news updates on WHO's website.

Currently, the WHO Health Alert is rolling out in English, but it will roll out in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish over the next few weeks.

Additional reporting by staff reporter