Government Communications Office launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

6 April 2020

Today the Government Communications Office for the State of Qatar launched a Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp. The new service, which is free-to-use, provides a central source of accurate, trustworthy and up-to-date information about Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Coronavirus Information Service is an automated “chatbot” service that allows citizens and residents in Qatar to get answers to the most common questions about Coronavirus from the Ministry of Public Health and the GCO 24 hours a day in six languages: Arabic, English, Urdu, Hindi, Nepali, and Malayalam. The service will provide information on topics such as Coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases, advice on staying at home, travel advice and mythbusting.

Sheikh Thamer bin Hamad Al-Thani, Deputy Director of the Government Communications Office for Media Affairs, commented: “Maintaining the safety of citizens and residents in the State of Qatar is our top priority. To ensure that the public is kept informed during the crisis we have developed a user-friendly service to give people instant access the most current information on the virus. This includes the latest statistics from the Ministry of Public Health and vital information about how people can protect themselves and others. Our aim is to raise public awareness in our community.”

Matt Idema, WhatsApp’s Chief Operating Officer, commented: “At difficult times like these, people use WhatsApp more than ever to connect with and support their friends, family and communities. We are pleased to be able to provide the State of Qatar with the communications tools to help them respond to citizens’ questions about the virus with reliable, timely health advice, in order to keep people safe.”

The Coronavirus Information Service has been built on the WhatsApp Business API over Infobip’s global communication platform to provide timely and critical information to the population about the virus. For more advanced queries, the chatbot can also direct users to online resources.