WhatsApp Coronavirus Chatbot is Working Now After a Rocky Launch

By Shabana Arif on at

The Covid-19 advice chatbot available on WhatsApp went live yesterday, but it had a few hiccups. If you had issues and gave up trying to communicate with it, it's stopped its bullshit now, and is working as intended.

The government chatbot is easy enough to access - you can find out how to add it in WhatsApp here - but some users reported receiving no response after sending the 'hi' prompt, or getting a reply that was an error message. It's not the end of the world if it wasn't working, given that all of the information is available online at the NHS website or the official government website.

The BBC has since confirmed that everything is now working as it's supposed to, but don't expect to have meandering conversations with the bot about your concerns - it's intended to give you "answers to the most common questions about coronavirus." You're probably better off Googling it, especially as a number of networks have whitelisted the NHS site so it visiting it doesn't count towards your data allowance, as well as making calls to 111 free.

O2 is one of those networks, and went the extra mile to extend the list of its zero-rate sites to a total of 22, that include guidance and support on finances, health, and mental and emotional well-being. And if you need a refresher on the new lockdown laws, here's what you should and shouldn't be doing. [BBC News]