COVID-19 outbreak has brought an abrupt halt around the globe. With over 20,000 confirmed deaths, more than 400,000 confirmed cases; the coronavirus has spread to almost 200 countries. While China (where the virus originated) has been able to bring it under control with draconian measures, the US and Italy have surpassed the country with confirmed COVD-19 cases.
In such a crisis, many countries are taking measures to reduce the spread of the virus- from shutting workplaces to mass quarantines. Global health organizations like WHO, UNDP, etc are putting rigorous effort too to deliver credible information on coronavirus and precautions to help one protect from getting infected.
To name a few initiatives, WHO (World Health Organization) in collaboration with Facebook-owned WhatsApp has already introduced a WHO Health alert chatbot to provide COVID-19 related information. The health organization has partnered with tech company Microsoft as well to proffer authentic and accurate data. The latest news on the line now suggests that WHO is preparing to launch an app designed to combat the COVID-19 misinformation. The app will be compatible with Android, iOS platform and web as well.
According to 9to5Google, the tabloid which managed to get a hand on the early version of the upcoming WHO app said that it will include news, tips, alerts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The app tipped to be called as ‘WHO MyHealth’ is created by a team consisting of former Google, Microsoft members, WHO advisors and ambassadors. The report notes that the WHO MyHealth app will be launched both on iOS and Android platforms on March 30.
Apparently, a WHO COVID-19 app review document which is mentioned on the report reveals that the app in the initial stage will provide ‘diagnose and triage’ tool that will help people to check whether the COVID-19 like symptoms, practices for containment and mitigation, use location history of those who are affected so as to have a better understanding of the spread of the virus in a particular area, etc. Moreover, the app will also help users to identify nearby testing/treatment centers as per the document.
9to5Google has even posted screenshots of the early version of MyHealth app (via opensource). From what one can observe the layout looks similar to that WHO-Whatsapp chatbot with options like how to protect yourself, corona myth busters, travel advice, etc.
In case you haven’t used the Whatsapp chatbot yet, here’s how to get started. Add the number +41 79 893 18 92 to your contact or join the conversation via this link. Once the contact is added, send the text ‘hi’ a menu will show up with various options like the latest numbers across the world related to the outbreak, tips and FAQs on the virus, travel advice, etc. You can enter the relevant number to get the COVID-19 related information that you seek.
With countries implementing mandatory lockdown, people are finding it difficult to adapt to the quagmire. But even if some of you are bored to death all because of being stuck at home, don’t forget to take necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family.