(Pocket-lint) - WhatsApp has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to launch a coronavirus pandemic-focused chatbot. Called the World Health Organization’s Health Alert, using it is as simple as texting a number.

Facebook messenger is also doing the same for the wider Facebook audience

When WhatsApp users text "hi" to the new alert (+41 79 893 1892), it will respond with various prompts and the latest data. The service, which is free to use, is designed to serve up reliable and official information. It actually follows a coronavirus fact-checking hub a new WhatsApp that was made in partnership with the WHO, UNICEF, and the United Nations Development Programme.

The hub shares the latest news and advice related to COVID-19. The new chatbot, however, lets users worldwide ask follow-up questions 24 hours a day. To use it, just add the aforementioned number to your contacts and send a WhatsApp message. You’ll then automatically be signed up to receive updates, and you'll be able to seek more information and ask questions, whenever.

WhatsApp is now used by over two billion people worldwide and is especially popular in the UK, Europe, and many other countries - whereas, in the US, people tend to use Facebook's other messaging platform, Facebook Messenger, as a primary means of communication.

For more information about how WhatsApp works, see Pocket-lint's guides:

Writing by Maggie Tillman.