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WhatsApp and MyGov launch official coronavirus and Covid-19 alert service for India, here is how you can use it

Around a day after WhatsApp announced that it was partnering with WHO for a health alert service regarding coronavirus and Covid-19, the chat app has launched a similar feature for Indian users, accessible on Indian number.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | March 21, 2020 | Updated 22:47 IST

Highlights

  • hatsApp has partnered with Ministry of Health and MyGov for coronavirus alert service in India.
  • The coronavirus and Covid-19 alert service is available on 9013151515.
  • To use it users will have to send Namaste or Hi to this number from WhatsApp.

Around a day after WhatsApp and WHO announced a global coronavirus and Covid-19 alert service through the chat app, WhatsApp has come out with India-specific version of the same service. In India, the latest and official alerts on Covid-19 and coronavirus will be available through phone number 9013151515. The service is going to run 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

The WhatsApp alert service on coronavirus will provide Indians with correct information about the virus and the disease Covid-19 that it causes. depending on the question that is asked, users will receive the relevant information.

To use WhatsApp alert for coronavirus in India, here is what you will have to do:

-- Save 9013151515 on your phone.

-- Send a message to this number from WhatsApp saying Hi or Namaste.

-- This will initiate a chat and you will be able to then ask a question. Like what are the symptoms of Covid-19?

India's IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the information provided through the WhatsApp alerts will be authentic. Now receive authentic information about #CoronaOutbreakIndia through WhatsApp. Save 9013151515 on your phone as MyGov Corona Helpdesk. Send Namaste or Hi to this number from your WhatsApp. Follow the menu instructions to receive information, he said.

There are many rumors and much misinformation that is floating around coronavirus and Covid-19. The problem is particularly widespread in India, although it is not limited to India. This is why earlier in the day WhatsApp announced a similar service with global reach. That service can also be used by Indians by sending a message to +41 79 893 1892.

Once the chat has been initiated, said WhatsApp, the users will be prompted to either type in a query or choose from a list of frequently asked questions. Depending on the question, users will receive verified information in the form of a video, infographic or text, said a WhatsApp spokesperson.

India currently has over 300 reported cases of Covid-19 and it is expected that the cases will rise in the future. As the pandemic spreads across the world, there has been a lot of misinformation shared through apps like WhatsApp. Many claims that have been made about the coronavirus and the pandemic have no basis in science or are not factually accurate. WhatsApp, as well as other tech platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, have come under fire for not doing enough to curb fake news around Covid-19 and coronavirus.

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