With the novel coronavirus spreading throughout India, there is also a sense of panic and uncertainty in the air. Indians are not sure what measures to take to safeguard themselves and their family.
The government of India, along with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), has been constantly updating the public with all relevant information during this pandemic.
They have also put out travel advisories that said people should hold off against travelling unless necessary. A recent announcement said that all foreign nationals and even Indians entering the country will be quarantined for the 14 days. This is to ensure that the individuals are not unwitting carriers of the virus.
The government has also enforced restrictions on visas and has banned travellers from all other countries from entering the country. This move effectively bans all tourism to India until 15 April and it will come into action from Friday, 13 February onwards.
However, there are a few exceptions that the health ministry will make like those with diplomatic and long-term employment visas for India will still be allowed into the country, and foreigners already inside the country will mostly be unaffected.
The guidelines issued by the MOHFW range from how to quarantine oneself at home and the usage of masks in public to dealing with cruise ships that have passengers on board who might be infected as seen in the two cases in Japan and California.
The MOHFW has released a list of helpline numbers for all states and union territories.
Toll-free helpline number: 1075
Central Helpline Number for corona-virus - 11-23978043/11-23978046
Helpline rmail ID : email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org
Andhra Pradesh - 0866-2410978
Arunachal Pradesh - 9536055743
Assam - 6913347770
Bihar - 104
Chhattisgarh - 077122-35091
Goa - 104
Gujarat - 104
Haryana - 8558893911
Himachal Pradesh - 104
Jharkhand - 104
Karnataka - 104
Kerala - 0471-2552056
Madhya Pradesh - 0755-2527177
Maharashtra - 020-26127394
Manipur - 3852411668
Meghalaya - 9366090748
Mizoram - 102
Nagaland - 7005539653
Odisha - 9439994859
Punjab - 104
Rajasthan - 0141-2225624
Sikkim - 104
Tamil Nadu - 044-29510500
Telangana - 104
Tripura - 0381-2315879
Uttarakhand - 104
Uttar Pradesh - 18001805145
West Bengal - 3323412600
Andaman and Nicobar Islands - 03192-232102
Chandigarh - 9779558282
Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu - 104
Delhi - 011-22307145
Jammu & Kashmir - 1912520982 / 0194-2440283
Ladakh - 1982256462
Lakshadweep - 4896263742
Puducherry - 104
Haptik's myth-busting chatbot
Other than these helplines, there is also an AI helpline - Coronavirus Helpdesk - that is operated by a startup called Haptik. It has been integrated on Whatsapp and can be used by first adding the number to your contact and then messaging it. It helps shatter myths about the virus and suggests basic hygiene practices, sourcing them from WHO, to help prevent it.
Chatbot- 93213 9877 (India).
Chatbot- 808-369-9528 (USA)
Centre's coronavirus Chatbot
With myths and misinformation spreading as fast as COVID-19 itself, the Centre has launched an official chatbot on WhatsApp to resolve any queries related to COVID-19. The chatbot has been named MyGov Corona Helpdesk and is a bid to make citizens aware of the pandemic.
To use the MyGov Corona Helpdesk, save the number 9013151515 in your phone’s contact list and send a query related to COVID-19 to get an answer. The helpdesk is free for all.
WHO launches health alert
WHO has also created a health alert on WhatsApp to keep people updated about the coronavirus pandemic and combat misinformation. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the move on his social media platform and said that they have worked together with the WHO to get “authoritative information” about coronavirus sent directly to one's WhatsApp account.
To get all information from WHO on WhatsApp, one has to save the number +41 79 893 1892 on their phone contacts and simply text 'Hi' to get started. The WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub was launched in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
Tracking the virus on a global scale
If you want to track the number of coronavirus cases all around the world, here are some credible tools that can help you out.
One of the most accurate maps that is updated very frequently is the interactive world map by John Hopkins University. It gives you the total number of cases confirmed, the number of deaths and those who have recovered as well.
Another resource to look at is the Worldometer that, like John Hopkins provides you with the number of confirmed cases worldwide while distinguishing them into categories like - people with mild conditions and those who are more serious. The site also gives you information on the number of people that recovered and the total number of the deaths caused by COVD-19.
Updated Date: Mar 23, 2020 11:11:47 IST