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The World Health Organization (WHO) launched the WHO Health Alert, a new messaging service via partners WhatsApp and Facebook to provide people with information and latest situation reports concerning the COVID-19 crisis.
According to WHO, this easy-to-use messaging service has the potential to reach 2 billion people and enables WHO to get information directly into the hands of the people that need it.
From government leaders to health workers and family and friends, this messaging service will provide the latest news and information on coronavirus, including details on symptoms and how people can protect themselves and others, WHO states. It also provides the latest situation reports and numbers in real time to help government decision-makers protect the health of their populations.
The service can be accessed through a link on who.int that opens a conversation on WhatsApp. Users can send “Hi” to +41 79 4123236 to activate the conversation, prompting a menu of options that can help answer their questions about COVID-19.
When you send “Hi”, the WHO Health Alert messaging service replies immediately with an informative menu telling you which information or guidance concerning the current outbreak of coronavirus disease you can receive. You can select the latest information on several topics, including the latest numbers, how to protect yourself, questions, myth-busters, travel advice, media, sharing, and donating by replying with a number or emoji. The best part? – WHO always replies within a few seconds, and you can have all the information you need readily available whenever you need it.
This messaging service is a continuation of WHO’s consistent efforts to battle the rampant spread of misinformation on the new virus. WHO urges big tech companies and social media influencers to combat the fake news being spread on social media during this “infodemic.” The BBC quoted WHO representative Andrew Pattison stating that the misinformation is “spreading faster than the virus itself”. The WHO Health Alert helps solve this problem by relaying correct information regarding COVID-19 to anyone at any time.