Delhi government launches COVID-19 WhatsApp helpline number: Here’s how it works

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: April 2, 2020 6:35:50 pm

Delhi government launches COVID-19 helpline on WhatsApp: How it works

The Indian government is taking important measures to prevent the spread of misinformation related to coronavirus pandemic. Earlier today the government launched an official coronavirus tracking app for Android and iOS users.  To further ensure that everyone has easy access to credible information around COVID-19 the Health & Family Welfare Department of Government of NCT of Delhi has launched a dedicated WhatsApp helpline number +91 88000 07722. This is a free-to-use WhatsApp service and will act as a central source for accurate, trustworthy and up-to-date information on the ongoing pandemic.

The helpline service will provide information on topics such as Coronavirus prevention and symptoms along with tips on containment, other service helpline numbers, applying for e-passes and general information on measures that the state is taking to tackle this crisis.

How to use Delhi government corona helpline on WhatsApp

This free to use mobile number is for every citizen living in the capital. To use the free Delhi government corona helpline on WhatsApp you will just need to save the number +91 88000 07722 in your smartphone and send ‘Hi’ on WhatsApp message to get started. The service has been built on the WhatsApp Business API, using Infobip India. It is available in English only for now.

The helpline is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow citizens to get verified answers to questions related to coronavirus from the Health & Family Welfare Department of Government of NCT of Delhi within 24 hours.

We tried the service and it responded instantly with a messaging stating “Namaste. Welcome to the Delhi Government WhatsApp Helpline for COVID- 19 (Novel Corona Virus) The Delhi Government has taken the COVID-19 outbreak with all sincerity. We would like to assure you that we are taking every possible step to contain the spread of the virus.”

READ: WHO health alert on WhatsApp: Here’s how to connect

The message also includes several options such as “1) Introduction to COVID-19 / Signs and Symptoms, 2) Prevention and containment of COVID-19, 3) Govt authorized facilities for screening and testing of COVID-19, 4) General FAQs on COVID-19  5) Helpline numbers, 6) News and Press regarding COVID19 / Important Announcements from Delhi Govt., 7) Get e-Pass, 8) Night Shelter list where food is available, 9) Donate to CM relief fund.” You can simply respond with the option number you want to get more details of.

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Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi said, “The Delhi Govt. is happy to partner with WhatsApp to establish a dedicated Coronavirus helpline for its residents to ensure that all your queries related to Coronavirus are answered with credible and accurate information. 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.”

READ: Indian government COVID-19 tracking app: How to check if you have coronavirus

Commenting on this initiative, Abhijit Bose, Head of India for WhatsApp added, “Our focus, at this time, is to make sure every citizen can access credible and accurate health information. We value the opportunity to support the Government of Delhi and urge people to do their part by relying on authentic and official sources of information.”

READ: WhatsApp is helping people stay connected during coronavirus pandemic; here’s how

In addition to the MyGov central helpline, similar services have been introduced in several states of India to help users to find credible information both in English and their specific regional language. Users can now reach Health Ministries of Maharashtra (+91 20 2612 739), Gujarat (+91 74330 00104) and Kerala (+91 90722 20183) on WhatsApp with more states to launch in the coming days.

WhatsApp recently launched Coronavirus Information hub to get verified and accurate information related to coronavirus pandemic. In order to keep people up to date with verified COVID-19 information, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has also created a Health Alert on WhatsApp. The service is also aimed at government decision-makers by providing the latest numbers and situation reports.

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