WhatsApp and Amazon Alexa Launch Coronavirus Information Services

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The British government this week launched a coronavirus information service on WhatsApp to help users access information about the disease from their smartphones.

WhatsApp users in the U.K. can access the service by tapping this link. Alternatively, start a new chat in WhatsApp, select New Contact, and add the number (+44) 7860 064422 to the Mobile field. The number will appear at the bottom of your contacts. Tap it, and when the chat window opens, text the word “hi” to activate the service.

Along with providing links to the U.K. government’s latest COVID-19 guidance and the NHS website for health advice, the service allows users to reply with a number from 1 to 9 to find out more about the following topics related to COVID-19:

  1. What is coronavirus?
  2. Prevention.
  3. Symptoms.
  4. Stay at home.
  5. Travel.
  6. Latest numbers.
  7. Mythbusters.
  8. Share.
  9. More information.

In the U.S., Amazon says Alexa users can now use the voice assistant to help initial diagnosis of possible COVID-19 cases. Queries like “Alexa, what should I do if I think I have coronavirus?” prompts the voice assistant to ask about symptoms, travel history, and possible exposure to the virus. Based on your responses, Alexa will provide guidance based on official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information.

As we reported last week, iPhone users who ask Siri about coronavirus can complete a questionnaire about their symptoms and potential exposure to the virus to better understand their health situation. Apple says the answers are sourced from the CDC and U.S. Public Health Service, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.

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