Coronavirus: Narendra Modi government creates WhatsApp helpdesk
As the number of people infected with COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus continues to rise, the Narendra Modi government on Thursday evening, launched a helpdesk on the popular messaging platform WhatsApp. The effort is aimed at creating awareness around the novel coronavirus and helping citizens stay safe.
The initiative comes in the backdrop of a sea of misinformation that has been floating around on WhatsApp and other social media platforms, regarding the novel coronavirus.
The Government of India’s WhatsApp helpdesk number in 9013151515.
“We have created this WhatsApp chatbot on coronavirus. Just say Hi! on WhatsApp and you will get automated responses on queries related to coronavirus,” a representative from the Ministry of Electronics Information Technology told YourStory.
When you ping it with a Hi! the government’s WhatsApp coronavirus chatbot greets you with: “Namaste! This is the Government of India's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Helpdesk to create awareness and help you and your family stay safe.
For any emergency - Helpline: 011-23978046 | Toll-Free 1075
It is followed by another message that reads: “Please choose from the following option
A. What is Coronavirus and what are its symptoms?
B. How does Coronavirus spread?
C. How to reduce the risk of Coronavirus?
D. Professional Advice By AIIMS-Director
E. Know more on Coronavirus
F. Where to get help?
Tip: You can type A, B, C, D, E, F to make a selection of the menu options.”
Earlier in the evening, PM Modi addressed the nation in a televised broadcast, urging citizens to take precautionary measures to combat the novel coronavirus. He also appealed to the country to observe a ‘Janta Curfew’ on March 22 from 7 am to 9 pm, to prevent the spread of the virus.
“These are testing times, but we all have to maintain discipline, to prevent the spread of the virus," he said.
Across the world, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has killed over 9,000 people and infected 2,36,729, according to Worldometer, a website that tracks real-time population data. In India, the virus has taken four lives, infecting more than 170 people.
Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) characterised the novel coronavirus as a global pandemic.
(Edited by Suman Singh)