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Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Maharashtra Public Health Department launches COVID-19 helpline on WhatsApp; and more

To use the helpline, simply save the number +91 20 2612 7394 in your phone contacts and then text the word ‘Hi' in a WhatsApp message to get started. This service will be available both in English and Marathi, a statement issued Wednesday said.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Updated: April 2, 2020 1:09:57 am
WhatsApp, WhatsApp beta, WhatsApp expiring messages, WhatsApp multiple device support, WhatsApp new features, WhatsApp update, WhatsApp Android The Covid Helpline Maharashtra is an automated ‘chatbot’ service that will allow residents to get verified answers to questions about coronavirus from the Public Health Department of Maharashtra within 24 hours.

The Public Health Department of Maharashtra has launched a dedicated Covid Helpline — +91 20 2612 7394 on WhatsApp. This service will be free to use and will act as a central source for accurate, trustworthy and up-to-date information about the coronavirus pandemic.

To use the helpline, simply save the number +91 20 2612 7394 in your phone contacts and then text the word ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. This service will be available both in English and Marathi, a statement issued Wednesday said.

The Covid Helpline Maharashtra is an automated ‘chatbot’ service that will allow residents to get verified answers to questions about coronavirus from the Public Health Department of Maharashtra within 24 hours. The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, support being provided by Maharashtra government and details on common myths, with more options to be included in the future.

“Access to credible sources of information is critical to battling coronavirus and is our top priority. We are pleased to have this opportunity to work with the Public Health Department of Maharashtra on this initiative. We encourage users to depend on verified sources for any information during this pandemic,” added Abhijit Bose, head of India for WhatsApp.

In addition to the MyGov central helpline, similar services have been introduced in several states of India to empower users to find credible information, both in English and their specific regional language. Users can now reach health ministries of Gujarat (+91 74330 00104) and Kerala (+91 90722 20183) on WhatsApp, with more states to launch in the coming days. Users can reach out to the fact-checking community by visiting the recently launched WhatsApp coronavirus information hub whatsapp.com/coronavirus.

CDAC launches hackathon to address COVID-19

The Centre for Development for Advanced Computing (CDAC) has launched a hackathon under its latest initiative, Supercomputing using Artificial Intelligence, Healthcare Analytics based Research for combating COVID-19 (SAMHAR-COVID-19). Researchers, academicians, start-ups, and representatives of small and medium scale industries can participate in the hackathon, registrations for which open on April 6. Some of the problems that the forthcoming hackathon will address cover drug discovery and genome sequencing, medical imaging, contactless monitoring, surveillance and forecasting disease outbreaks of COVID-19.

Mercedes sets up hospital in village

Mercedes-Benz India has decided to set up a temporary hospital with medical facilities and isolation wards for coronavirus patients. The newly developed medical facility in Mhalunge-Ingale village, Chakan Khed, will have isolation wards with a capacity 1,500 patients. Mercedes-Benz will assist the zilla parishad with the necessary infrastructure, including the medical equipment. Martin Schwenk, managing director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, said, “In these challenging times, we are trying to support the local community and authorities. The new medical facility will help support the local authorities and the people of the region with healthcare if the situation worsens.”

INS Shivaji implements drills to prevent spread of pandemic on its premises

The INDIAN Navy’s premier technical training institute INS Shivaji, located in Lonavala near Pune, has said it has put in place strict drills to stop the spread of coronavirus within the Lonavala military station. The measures include restricting the entry of non-uniformed personnel and contractual staff, staggered meal timings for personnel, multiple hand washing points, minimising congestion in barracks and shutting down of non-essential stores and office spaces, thereby ensuring social distancing to stop the spread of pandemic.

As part of assistance to civil administration, the station has also been providing various essential services. The nearby Kurvande village with a population of 4,000 and a labour camp comprising 325 people adjacent to this station, were completely sanitised between March 28 and 30. The station also facilitated and coordinated the distribution of food packets to underprivileged people around the station in conjunction with local NGOs and provided logistic support to these NGOs for enabling distribution of dry ration and other essential provisions to the nearby labour camp.

All the domestic helps for the Naval Officers’ Residential Area at Station Lonavala were briefed about the prevention measures to be taken to avoid the COVID-19 infection.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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