Saturday, 24 October, 2020

Coronavirus: UK’s WhatsApp bot working after false start

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At first, the bot failed to react to some people and they experienced to say ‘hi’ once more

A Covid-19 WhatsApp bot established up by the Uk authorities is lastly performing following troubles throughout start on Wednesday.

Members of the public who concept the bot can entry pre-identified chunks of guidance on signs and symptoms or how to stay away from spreading the condition, for example.

But it failed to work for some users soon after its start, providing almost nothing extra than an error concept.

Nevertheless, the BBC has verified that the bot, which also warns about coronavirus myths, is now doing the job as supposed.

One particular of these who encountered first teething troubles, Hashir Milhan, claims all appears to be to be settled.

“I experimented with sending the opening ‘hi’ message with no reaction,” London-centered designer Mr Milhan instructed the BBC.

He reported the bot did react later on – but only to send out him an error message.

But on Thursday, he was capable to accessibility the data devoid of challenges.

He pointed out that the info was commonly available on the internet but additional: “It’s reassuring that this comes from a verified account.”

The federal government stated the company was designed to allow for associates of the community to “get answers to the most widespread thoughts about coronavirus”.

But Mr Milhan said he experienced hoped the bot would be in a position to engage in and have an understanding of conversations, in order to react to queries individuals may possibly have on the location.

To get started obtaining messages, people should mail “hi” through WhatsApp to the number 07860 064422. Intercontinental people can use +44 7860 064 422.

The Uk authorities does not have an formal crisis warn system with which to speak to citizens specifically all through a crisis.

On the other hand, authorities are distributing details by various channels, such as web-sites and social media, as properly as the new WhatsApp bot.

Telecoms companies had been also requested to send out out an inform to all shoppers by way of textual content information this 7 days, stating that men and women have to now continue to be at dwelling as a great deal as possible.

The texts have rolled out slowly to end users and scammers have by now tried out to choose gain of the condition.

Some have sent phony messages accusing people today of leaving their homes a lot more than as soon as a working day – the restrict set by the govt – and telling them they are now liable to pay back a great.

Quantity 10 reported people today must belief only the official concept.

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