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After Covid-19 fiasco, Goa unveils chatbot on pandemic

Panaji, March 18 (IANS) On Wednesday when Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane fell prey to a hoax related to Covid-19, the Health Ministry launched a bot ‘Cobot-19’ to dispel miscommunication related to the pandemic.

Inaugurating here the chatbot service, which will operate via WhatsApp, Rane said it had been inspired by use of technology by Singapore to combat coronavirus and would serve as a “unified point of communication for all COVID-19 related information”.

Cobot-19 is a one-stop point of information for citizens on COVID-19 and its various aspects.

“We are the first state to take up an initiative at this scale. Our aim is to resolve the confusion caused by countless advisories from different sources as well as rumours,” Rane said.

“It’s revolutionary and will be effective interface to stem the flow of misinformation and clear doubts around the disease,” the Health Minister said.

The aim of introducing the chatbot was to harness technology to “provide people with access to authentic, helpful and easy to understand information about the disease.”

Earlier during the day, Rane had fallen prey to a prank call, in which, the caller posing as a representative of a notified lab said one coronavirus positive case had been confirmed in Goa.

Rane immediately organised a press conference to announce the state’s first confirmed coronavirus case, only to clarify later that he had fallen prey to a hoax.

–IANS

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