Government launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

Automated answers to common coronavirus questions

The UK Government has today (25 March 2020) launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp.

An automated ‘chatbot’ will allow the public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus (COVID-19).

The free to use service 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.

It will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.

To use the GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts. Then message the word ‘hi’ to get started.

A set of menu options is then presented, which the user can choose from and then be sent relevant guidance from GOV.UK pages as well as links to GOV.UK for further information.

Prof Yvonne Doyle, medical director, Public Health England, said:

“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.”

Matt Idema, chief operating officer, WhatsApp, said:

“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.”