British residents looking for more information about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic can now turn to WhatsApp on their smartphones for more information. The British government this week launched a coronavirus information service on WhatsApp.
MacRumors reports WhatsApp users in the United Kingdom can access the service by tapping this link. Or users can start a new chat in the WhatsApp app, select New Contact, and add the number (+44) 7860 064422 to the Mobile field. Start a chat with the word “hi” to activate the service.
The service offers links to the U.K. government’s latest COVID-19 guidance and the NHS website for health advice, it also allows users to enter a number from 1 to 9 to learn more about the following coronavirus-related topics:
- What is coronavirus?
- Stay at home.
- Latest numbers.
- More information.
U.S. residents can use Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant to help with initial diagnosis of possible COVID-19 cases. Asking a question like “Alexa, what should I do if I think I have the coronavirus?” will result in the voice-activated assistant asking about your symptoms, travel history and other possible exposure to the virus. Alexa will then offer up advice based on official information from the Centers for Disease Control.
Users in various regions can do the following:
- Using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, our Alexa health team built a U.S. experience that lets you use Alexa to check your risk level for COVID-19 at home, using just your voice. Ask, “Alexa, what do I do if I think I have COVID-19?” or “Alexa, what do I do if I think I have coronavirus?,” and Alexa will ask a series of questions about your travel history, symptoms, and possible exposure. Based on your responses, Alexa will provide CDC guidance given your risk level and symptoms.
- In Japan, you can also use Alexa to check your risk level at home. Based on your responses, Alexa will provide Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare guidance matching your risk level and symptoms.
- Customers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, the UK, and the U.S. can now ask Alexa to sing a song for 20 seconds, and she’ll help you keep time while you scrub your hands with a tune.
Last week, Apple added coronavirus information and a questionnaire about possible symptoms to its Siri virtual assistant. Users that ask Siri a variation of, “Do I have coronavirus?” will be presented with questions asking if they’re exhibiting symptoms of the disease, such as fever, dry cough or shortness of breath. Siri will then advise users who say they are exhibiting extreme or life-threatening symptoms to consider calling 911.
The answers are from the U.S. Public Health Service, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Apple.