Scaling up its efforts to spread awareness about the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO), in partnership with WhatsApp and Facebook, has launched dedicated messaging services that will provide facts on COVID-19 in various languages including Hindi. 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 'à¤¨à¤®à¤¸à¥à¤¤à¥' to +41 22 5017341 on WhatsApp. Other languages that are offered are Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
The WHO @WhatsApp service can be accessed through a link that opens a conversation ðhttps://t.co/NiHHv2gzhU— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 21, 2020
Users can simply type “hi” to activate the conversation, prompting a menu of options that can help answer their questions about #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/1dc5HRcsh4
If you click the link, it opens up the WhatsApp chat, with a 'Namaste' message already typed out. Sending it gets a menu in return, and numeric responses can be sent to access the options and interface with the service.
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.
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".