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'Better Late Than Never,' Quips Syed Akbaruddin As WHO Launches Hindi Covid WhatsApp Bot

India's Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin on Friday took a wry dig at the WHO for launching Hindi WhatsApp COVID-19 chatbot late.


India's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin on Friday took to Twitter to inform the people about World Health Organisation's (WHO) messaging service in several languages including Hindi to spread awareness about the Coronavirus. In a tweet in Hindi, Akbaruddin wrote from Thursday (USA time), the World Health Organization will also answer in Hindi. "Write 'hello' (Namaste) and get information about coronavirus (COVID-19)," he added.

'Better late than never'

However, the outspoken Indian Ambassador also added a wry dig at the global health body for launching the service late as the global pandemic has created havoc around the world. Akbaruddin wrote, "देर आए दुरुस्त आए" which translates to "Better late than never"

'The potential to reach 2 billion people'

World Health Organization (WHO), in partnership with WhatsApp and Facebook, launched dedicated messaging services that will provide facts on COVID-19 in various languages. On Thursday languages like Hindi, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian were added in the services. The messaging service aims to provide information about the virus - its symptoms, ways to protect themselves and others to people around the world.

It involves a simple process of sending 'hi' or 'नमस्ते' to +41 22 5017341 on WhatsApp. According to the WHO press release, "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."

The messaging service comes at a time when the WHO has come under criticism and has been threatened to have its funds from the US frozen, by US President Donald Trump, who has accused it of being 'China-centric' and having got its response to the outbreak to COVID wrong, citing a January statement that claimed that there was no human-to-human transmission of the Coronavirus. He has also taken umbrage at it criticising some of his earlier measures to fight the pandemic.

READ | WHO launches Hindi WhatsApp Covid chatbot: Here's how to use it with just one click

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China, meanwhile, on Thursday denied any cover-up in reporting the initial information of the novel coronavirus outbreak in December last as it put up a staunch defence of WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, refuting US President Donald Trump's allegation that he was "very China-centric".

READ | Mumbai: BMC to test 7.5 lakh residents of Dharavi in next 15 days for COVID after 3 die

READ | '100% surety that India has sufficient HCQ drug stock for now & future': Health Ministry

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