Maharashtra, India | April 2020: The Public Health Department of Maharashtra has launched a dedicated State Covid Helpline – +91 20 2612 7394 on WhatsApp. This service will be free-to-use and will act as a central source for accurate, trustworthy and up-to-date information about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
To use the free Covid Helpline Maharashtra on WhatsApp, simply save the number +91 20 2612 7394 in your phone contacts and then text the word ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. This service will be available both in English and Marathi.
The Covid Helpline Maharashtra is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow citizens to get verified answers to questions about Coronavirus from the Public Health Department of Maharashtra within 24 hours. To begin with, the service will provide information on topics such as Coronavirus prevention and symptoms, support being provided by Maharashtra government and details on common myths, with more options to be included in the future.
Complimenting the partnership with WhatsApp, Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister of Maharashtra said, “At this challenging time we urge residents to stay home and message the ‘Covid Helpline Maharashtra’ service on WhatsApp for verified facts and the latest guidance from the Government of Maharashtra.”
“Access to credible sources of information is critical to battling Coronavirus and is our top priority. We are pleased to have this opportunity to work with the Public Health Department of Maharashtra on this initiative. We encourage users to depend on verified sources for any information during this pandemic,” added Abhijit Bose, Head of India for WhatsApp.
In addition to the MyGov central helpline, similar services have been introduced in several states of India to empower users to find credible information both in English and their specific regional language. Users can now reach Health Ministries of Gujarat (+91 74330 00104) and Kerala (+91 90722 20183) on WhatsApp with more states to launch in the coming days. Users can reach out to the fact-checking community by visiting our recently launched WhatsApp Coronavirus Information hub whatsapp.com/coronavirus.