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UK Government Launches Coronavirus Whatsapp Service

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Working with Wavemaker, the information service will reduce impact on NHS services
UK Government Launches Coronavirus Whatsapp Service

The UK Government has launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19) and will further reduce the burden on NHS services. 

This will help combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation in the UK, as well as helping ensure people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

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 from the government. The 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 mythbusting. 

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message 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.”

The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Line has been built on the WhatsApp Business API, using Infobip’s global communication platform to enable the sharing of timely, vital information about COVID-19. The chatbot provides users with 24/7 instant access to all information about the virus. 

Media agency Wavemaker is supporting this service through UX and conversational design, strategic direction, and project management.  Wavemaker is a world leading media, content and technology agency.

Digital agency Flipside are responsible for user testing, API build and backend architecture consultancy. Flipside are a digital agency offering digital consultancy, design and production services.

A number of other Health Ministries and NGOs around the world are also running Coronavirus health information lines on WhatsApp, including the World Health Organization, the Singapore Government, Israel’s Ministry of Health, the South Africa Department of Health and KOMINFO in Indonesia, with more services expected to launch in the coming days and weeks.

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Wavemaker, Wed, 01 Apr 2020 09:55:54 GMT