Picture for illustrative purposes: WhatsApp Image Credit: IANS

Dubai: Dubai Health Authority (DHA) launched a hotline service on WhatsApp on Monday to respond to questions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The service utilises artificial intelligence to strengthen communication with the public and give them fast and easy access to accurate and trusted information from official sources.

To access the 24/7 service, residents can add 800342 to your contacts and send a “Hi” on the number. Only queries related to Covid 19 will be answered as this is not a general health chat service.

Fatma Al Khaja, Director of the Customer Happiness Department at the DHA stressed the importance of the 24/7 service, which is available in English and Arabic as it will help correct false information and debunk rumours by providing the public with the necessary knowledge to take preventive and precautionary measures to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Al Khaja, pointed out that the service’s information and frequently asked questions (FAQ) will be updated regularly to make sure they are up-to-date. She added that the DHA will also be sending educational videos and guidelines to the public, through WhatsApp to raise awareness about how to prevent the disease. The service provides a self-screening option and informs the public about the necessary procedures to receive the coronavirus test if necessary.

It also provides answers to FAQ related to symptoms, prevention, procedures and many more topics, based on information approved by the DHA and World Health Organization.

Al Khaja further explained that the new service also included a live chat option with a DHA employee, who would provide official information. In the first few hours of its launch, the hotline received over 1,700 queries.

Al Khaja called upon the public to make sure they rely only on official government sources for information.