To use the service, one has to just add 07860 064422 in phone contacts, and message “hi” on WhatsApp to get started.(Representational image: iStock)
Eastern Eye Staff
Public sector information website GOV.UK has launched a WhatsApp service to provide “official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19)”, aimed to reduce the burden on NHS services.
“This will help combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation in the UK, as well as helping ensure people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives,” said an official statement.
“The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow the British public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government.”
The service will give information on topics such as “coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting”.
It will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users.
To use the service, one has to just add 07860 064422 in phone contacts, and message “hi” on WhatsApp to get started.
Users can avail relevant guidance from GOV.UK pages as well as links to GOV.UK for further information.
Prof Yvonne Doyle, medical director, Public Health England, said: “This service will help us ensure the public has a trusted source for the right information about coronavirus, updated with the latest public health guidance and providing assurance that they are not misled by any of the false information circulating.”
Matt Idema, COO, WhatsApp, said: “At difficult times like these, people are using WhatsApp more than ever to connect with and support their friends, family and communities. We are pleased to be able to provide the UK Government with the communications tools to help them answer the public’s questions about the virus with reliable, timely health advice, in order to keep people safe.”