whatsapp covid-19

WhatsApp: Get COVID-19 information instantly on your phone

22 March 2020 - 20:17

Get daily updates on COVID-19 from the World Health Organisation, straight on your WhatsApp. Here’s how you can activate this cool feature:

Written by Andile Sicetsha

Facebook has been doing a lot of work to redeem itself from criticism for its complacency in ignoring the widespread misinformation and fake news around coronavirus COVID-19. In response to this, the Mark Zuckerberg app has created a WhatsApp bot with every single thing you need to know about the vastly spreading virus.

What’s the latest coronavirus death toll?

Coronavirus is quickly becoming one of the worst pandemics we have had in modern times.

It may have not claimed as many lives as the Spanish flu, but its impact on the global economy and other socioeconomic factors will be felt for a very long time.

To date, the virus has killed more than 11 000 people and infected over 265 000 people in the three months since its wake.

Facebook gets accountable with new WHO chatbot for WhatsApp

The one crucial factor about its spread can be owed to the largescale fake news and misinformation that has been purported on social media.

In an effort to combat this, Facebook has implemented a chatbot on WhatsApp that allows users to access information on coronavirus from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“From government leaders to health workers and family and friends, this messaging service will provide the latest news and information on coronavirus including details on symptoms and how people can protect themselves and others. It also provides the latest situation reports and numbers in real-time to help government decision-makers protect the health of their populations,” WHO noted in a statement on Friday.

The chatbot’s coding is simple. It only responds to specific prompts. So, complex sentence structures will not prompt the desired reply. Instead, users can use certain emojis and phrases to get information on:

  • the latest infection rate;
  • the latest death toll;
  • Mythbusters;
  • travel advice; and
  • how to donate to aid efforts

How to activate the WHO chatbot on WhatsApp

Accessing the bot on your WhatsApp is pretty simple. Follow these basic instructions to get the WHO bot on your device:

  • Visit this link (most preferably on your mobile device that has an active WhatsApp service)
  • The link will automatically open the app and send you to a new chat with WHO.
  • Send “hi” and
  • The bot will respond with a list of queries you can make
  • Voila! You now have full access to useful and accurate information on COVID-19 in the palm of your hand