The government of Pakistan has launched a coronavirus helpline on WhatsApp to provide people with reliable resources, combat misinformation, and keep them up to date during these difficult times.
Pakistani citizens can now reach out to the health ministry by contacting the number +923001111166 on WhatsApp, where they will get the latest statistics of the outbreak, awareness resources, timely updates, or find a nearby lab to get tested.
This can be done by simply saving the number as a contact on a phone with WhatsApp installed, and then sending “Hi”.
The chatbot will then reply with a prompt requesting to choose a language and then present a set of frequently asked questions to choose from. Depending on the chosen option, users will get a video, text, or link with verified information.
The chatbot can provide helpful information in seven different languages including English, Urdu, Punjabi, Pushto, Sindhi, Balochi, and Kashmiri. It answers questions about the coronavirus such as its symptoms, how to protect yourself from it, assessing your risk, finding nearby labs, and more.
Additionally, the service also includes a local dashboard for confirmed cases across the country. These figures are provided by the National Institue of Health.