The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday, 21 March, launched a Health Alert on WhatsApp where over 1.5 billion users can ask questions and they will be provided with reliable information about new coronavirus 24/7.
This will also serve government decision-makers by providing the latest numbers and situation reports, WhatsApp said in a statement.
Save the WHO number to get the alert
To contact the WHO Health Alert, save the number +41 79 893 1892 in phone contacts, and then simply text the word 'Hi' in a WhatsApp message to get started.
The service responds to a series of prompts and will be updated daily with the latest information.
"You can also visit the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub at whatsapp.com/coronavirus," and click on the WHO link on the homepage to open up a chat with the WHO Health Alert if you have WhatsApp installed," said the micro-blogging platform.
No more myths on the pandemic
The WHO Health Alert will provide official information on topics such as how to protect yourself from infection, travel advice, and debunking new coronavirus myths.
The service is initially launching in English but will be available in all six languages within the coming weeks (English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.)
"Digital technology gives us an unprecedented opportunity for vital health information to go viral and spread faster than the pandemic. We are proud to have partners like Facebook and WhatsApp, that are supporting us in reaching billions of people with important health information," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO.
WhatsApp joins hands to curb the virus spread
The WHO Health Alert is the latest official NGO or government helpline to become available on WhatsApp, joining the Singapore Government, The Israel Ministry of Health, the South Africa Department of Health, and KOMINFO Indonesia.
Earlier this week, WhatsApp, in partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and UNDP, launched the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub. The hub offers general tips and resources for users around the world to reduce the spread of rumours and connect with accurate health information.
WhatsApp also announced a $1 million grant to the International Fact Checking Network to support fact-checking for the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance.