How to get coronavirus updates on WhatsApp

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a free-to-use WHO Health Alert chatbot on WhatsApp.

This service aims to keep the public informed about the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and it can also answer questions from users about the pandemic.

The WHO Health Alert will provide guidance on topics such as how to protect yourself from infection, travel advice, and debunking coronavirus myths.

It is currently only available in English but will add support for Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish over the coming weeks.

“Digital technology gives us an unprecedented opportunity for vital health information to go viral and spread faster than the pandemic, helping us save lives and protect the vulnerable,” said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“We are proud to have partners like Facebook and WhatsApp, that are supporting us in reaching billions of people with important health information.”

How to sign up

To add the WHO Health Alert chatbot to your WhatsApp application, follow the steps below.

  • Click on the WHO Health Alert link to add the chatbot as a contact.
  • Open a chat with the WHO Health Alert chat and text the word “Hi” to get started.

Once you have activated the service, you can send it questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus and navigate through text menus for more information and updates on the outbreak.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa has risen to 274 as of Sunday 23 March, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Gauteng currently has the highest number of confirmed cases with 132, followed by the Western Cape with 88.

After recording the first case of the coronavirus in South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal now stands at 36.

According to the NICD, a total of 9,315 tests have been conducted in South Africa, 9,041 of which came back negative.

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How to get coronavirus updates on WhatsApp