UK Government launches coronavirus information service on WhatsApp

The UK Government has launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. The free-to-use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus, and reduce the burden on NHS services.

The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated chatbot service which will allow the British public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government. It will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting. The service will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.

To use the service, add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. A set of options is then presented which the user can choose from to be sent relevant guidance from GOV.UK pages as well as links to GOV.UK for further information.

“This service will help us ensure the public has a trusted source for the right information about coronavirus, updated with the latest public health guidance and providing assurance that they are not misled by any of the false information circulating,” said Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director, Public Health England.
WhatsApp COO Matt Idema added: “At difficult times like these, people are using WhatsApp more than ever to connect with and support their friends, family and communities. We are pleased to be able to provide the UK Government with the communications tools to help them answer the public’s questions about the virus with reliable, timely health advice, in order to keep people safe.”