Government launches WhatsApp Corona Helpline to deal with false news

The government of Pakistan has initiated a “WhatsApp Corona Helpline” to counter misinformation and deliver updates on the famous messaging service.

Now, WhatsApp users across Pakistan can contact health ministry on +923001111166 for accurate information, awareness resources, updated statistics, or searching the nearest lab for testing. To reach the helpline, citizens should save the WhatsApp contact number in their mobile phones, and then start a conversation by typing “Hi”. After which you will send it to the number, which will prompt them to either category in a query or choose from a list of FAQs. Considering the question, citizens will receive verified and authentic information in the form of a text, video or link.

Government launches WhatsApp Corona Helpline to deal with false news

The WhatsApp helpline delivers credible information in our national language Urdu and six regional languages, which include Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi and Kashmiri. The technology itself answers the questions related to COVID-19, its symptoms, different ways to protect yourself, the risk assessment, informative videos made by the health ministry and provides information about nearest labs for the COVID-19 test.

The helpline also shares daily figures of confirmed cases in the country. These figures, however, are taken from the National Institute of Health’s 10 updates and do not match with the updated number of confirmed cases across the country.

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Khurram Jamali who is an advisor to digital Pakistan Head Tania Andrus told that the social giant WhatsApp is one place where most conversations in the country take place. As the majority of adults in Pakistan have accessibility to WhatsApp.  With the help of WhatsApp helpline, the aim is to put maximum people at comfort by letting them self-assess COVID-19 risks and hence also reduced the burden on the health infrastructure.

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