How Governments Worldwide are Using Messaging Apps in Times of COVID-19
Regarding the current corna crisis, many citizens would like to be informed sufficiently and immediately about the status of the measures and their effects. Here is an overview of governments and official institutions that provide information about Covid-19 via messaging apps.
WhatsApp and Co. are the most used communication channels during the corona crisis. While hotlines are often chronically overloaded and remain busy, call centers are rarely home office capable, mails are usually not answered at all and social media doesn’t reach all social classes – messaging apps like WhatsApp are widespread, fast and direct.
The following agencies, authorities and governments already use messaging apps during the current corona crisis
- Germany: Federal Ministry of Health uses WhatsApp
- State of Bavaria: Notify informs as official messaging app of the Bavarian State
- World Health Organization (WHO) consults via WhatsApp chatbot
- Great Britain: WhatsApp chatbot of the British Government!
- India: consults now via WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger
- Telangana / India: WhatsApp chatbot powered by MessengerPeople
- France: Corona WhatsApp bot against the spread of fake news
- Brazil: Ministry of Health launches WhatsApp Chatbot
The German Federal Ministry of Health uses a simple WhatsApp bot on key facts and figures. Reachable via WhatsApp at +49 1516 2875183
The official messenger service of the State of Bavaria and the Bavarian State Government. With this service, you will be kept up to date on current developments regarding the Corona pandemic.
How many are infected by COVIT-19? How can I protect myself from the virus? Since the outbreak of the corona epidemic, requests to the World Health Organization have multiplied a thousand times. Telephone or e-mail support is not possible – now the WHO provides fast and direct information on the most important topics via a WhatsApp chatbot.
The new chatbot, provided by the UK government, allows anyone to subscribe to official advice about the pandemic known as COVID-19 in the hope of reducing the burden on the national health system. Send “hi” to +44 7860 064422 via WhatsApp to receive updates. (Source: Techcrunch)
India is also introducing a WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger chatbot to inform about the corona virus! Especially WhastApp is very widespread in India and is used much more than the classic phone or other media. That is why it was so important to offer a service via WhatsApp there at an early stage.
PM @narendramodi invites India to follow the latest authentic news, expert information, official updates and mythbusters on #IndiaFightsCorona at #mygovindia Whatsapp Helpdesk No +91 9013151515 – are you following us? #PMModiOnCorona pic.twitter.com/k7sDBx3XuK
— MyGovIndia (@mygovindia) March 25, 2020
Follow the latest authentic news, expert information, official updates and MythBusters on #IndiaFightsCorona at ‘MyGov Corona Helpdesk Chatbot’ on Facebook. Visit: https://t.co/bfw5T4FHae and get started! #HelpUsToHelpYou pic.twitter.com/5z1lo0Ilcu
— MyGovIndia (@mygovindia) March 26, 2020
The Government of Telangana has established a dedicated Coronavirus helpline for citizens to receive accurate information on the pandemic. 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. – said Sri KT Rama Rao, Minister for IT, Industries and MAUD.
The chatbot starts with a simple preset message and opens an extensive menu, informing about the current status on Covid-19, lockdown measures by the Telangana State, more details about health facilities and isolation centres, typical coronavirus symtomps and a lot more.
Simply send “Hi” or “Hello” or “COVID” to +91-9000658658 in a WhatsApp message to get started, or they can simply click the link https://wa.me/919000658658?text=Hi to initiate the conversation.
The French government also relies on a WhatsApp chatbot. The fight against fake news is to be at the centre of this. This also makes sense, because WhatsApp is the channel most used for communication during the Corona crisis. You can address bot with this number: +33755531212
1⃣Enregistrez le 07 55 53 12 12
2⃣Envoyez un message pour commencer la discussion
3⃣Ou cliquez sur ce lien : https://t.co/z0s1YLDVKV
— Gouvernement (@gouvernementFR) March 30, 2020
In order to keep the population and medical staff transparently and clearly informed about the corona virus, the Brazilian Ministry of Health also launched an exclusive chatbot on WhatsApp. There, users are informed comprehensively, receive instructions and recommendations, e.g. how to deal with suspected cases, or about different forms of contamination, possible preventive measures or remedies in the fight against fake news and rumors about the virus. The bot can be reached via +55 61 9938-0031
WhatsApp chatbot of the Brazilian Ministry of Health informs about corona
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