After the government of India, the Delhi government has now launched a COVID-19 chatbot on WhatsApp. Users just have to send the message “Hi” to the “Delhi Govt – Corona Helpline” at +918800007722. Apart from giving information and updates about the pandemic, the bot also allows users to apply for an e-pass for movement during the lockdown. Users cannot apply for the pass within the bot, but are directed to visit this site: https://epass.jantasamvad.org/epass/relief/english.
On choosing to get latest news and important announcements from Delhi government about COVID-19 (option 6), statistics about COVID-19 are not given. The central government’s bot, on the other hand, gives this information.
Delhi Chief Minister also announced this chat bot in his daily 6 pm press briefing today.
We have launched a Corona WhatsApp Helpline to answer some of your basic questions. Send a message to +91 88000 07722
What else would you like to see in this helpline? We will keep adding more features pic.twitter.com/vd61KLHXSz
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 3, 2020
Delhi government’s chatbot is the latest in the series of WhatsApp bots released by different state governments and international organisations to give information about COVID-19 or run fact checks. To start interacting with any of these bots, users have to send the message “Hi” to the given number on WhatsApp:
- World Health Organisation: Users can join it using +41798931892 to get the latest information and guidance on COVID-19. It gives the latest number of COVID-19 cases around the world, tips to protect yourself, and myth-busters among other things.
- Government of India’s MyGov Corona Helpdesk: Users can interact with it by adding +919013151515 to their contacts.
- Press Information Bureau (PIB)’s fact checker: Indian users of WhatsApp can send potential misinformation about COVID-19 only in relation to central government bodies/institutions to PIB at +918799711259.
- Indian States’ Health Ministries: Maharashtra (+91202612739), Gujarat (+917433000104) and Kerala (+919072220183) have launched their WhatsApp bots. In a press release, WhatsApp said that more states will launch their chatbots “in the coming days”.
- Government of Pakistan’s Gov Corona Helpline: This can can be joined by adding +923001111166 to their contacts. Note that the bot does not respond to Indian WhatsApp numbers, but does to American ones.
***Update (7:41 pm): With details of CM Arvind Kejriwal’s April 3 press briefing and tweet about the bot. Originally published on April 3 at 12:02 pm.