Delhi Government Launches COVID-19 Helpline On WhatsApp To Provide Credible Information To Citizens
In order to keep the citizens of Delhi updated about Covid-19, the Health & Family Welfare Department of Govt. of NCT of Delhi has launched a dedicated WhatsApp helpline number – +91 88000 07722. This service is free-to-use and will act as a central source for accurate, trustworthy and up-to-date information on the ongoing pandemic.
To use the free Delhi Govt. Corona Helpline on WhatsApp, simply save the number +91 88000 07722 in your phone contacts and then text the word ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. This service has been built on the WhatsApp Business API, using Infobip India and will be available in English.
One of the main motives behind such initiative is to prevent the circulation of fake news and misinformation around coronavirus pandemic. However, you can also access the chatbot service to receive details on the available government authorised testing facilities for the disease that is believed to spread through the Coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2). The bot also provides access to the information around the available night shelters in the capital city and how citizens can donate to the Chief Minister relief fund. There are options to let users apply for electronic curfew passes to move during the lockdown
Highlighting the initiative, Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi said, “The Delhi Govt. is happy to partner with WhatsApp to establish a dedicated Coronavirus helpline for its residents to ensure that all your queries related to Coronavirus are answered with credible and accurate information. We are doing everything we can to keep our citizens safe in these challenging times and urge everyone to stay indoors and ensure they rely only on verified channels of information”
Abhijit Bose, Head of India for WhatsApp further added, “Our focus, at this time, is to make sure every citizen can access credible and accurate health information. We value the opportunity to support the Government of Delhi and urge people to do their part by relying on authentic and official sources of information
Several other states in India have also launched similar chatbot services to provide trustworthy information to citizens. Users can now reach Health Ministries of Maharashtra (+91 20 2612 739), Gujarat (+91 74330 00104) and Kerala (+91 90722 20183) on WhatsApp with more states to launch in the coming days, the Facebook-owned company wrote in its press release.
Additionally, WhatsApp has recently unveiled Coronavirus Information Hub and has simultaneously announced the donation of $1 million to help curb misinformation around COVID-19. The instant messaging app also added a dedicated bot for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to provide various alerts around the outbreak.
The Indian government also brought its coronavirus-focused helpline through a Telegram channel and Facebook bot in the recent past. All initiatives are taken with a motive to limit the spread of fake news through social media.