News

Portea Medical and Verloop launch chatbot in partnership Goa Government to disseminate information on Covid-19

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on March 19, 2020 Published on March 19, 2020

Cobot-19, which operates via WhatApp, will help clear doubts about Covid-19 and provide info on precautions to be taken to avoid getting infected

Home healthcare start-up, Portea Medical, in partnership with Verloop, a customer support and engagement automation platform, has launched Cobot-19, an information and awareness chatbot.

The initiative that has been launched in partnership with the Government of Goa comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged private players to harness technology to tackle the ongoing health crisis.

Cobot-19 will disseminate information related to coronavirus through data gathered from trusted sources including the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Johns Hopkins. Portea’s experts have further reviewed the information to ensure that only authentic, helpful and easy-to-understand information is shared with the general public. Verloop has developed the technical aspects of the Chatbot.

Vishwajit P Rane, Minister of Health, Government of Goa, said, “We are happy to launch Cobot-19 as a one-stop source of information for our citizens on COVID-19 and its various aspects. We are the first State in the country to take up an initiative at this scale and our aim is to resolve the confusion caused by countless advisories from different sources as well as rumours. Taking inspiration from how the Singapore Government harnessed the power of WhatsApp recently, we have created this Chatbot as a unified official point of communication for all COVID-19 related information. It is revolutionary and will be an effective interface to stem the flow of misinformation and clear doubts around the disease. We thank Portea Medical and Verloop for their support.”

Key information

With Cobot-19, people will be able to resolve their queries around precautions to be taken to avoid getting infected, diet to boost immunity, health department contact information in case of emergency, among other things. To use the chatbot, people must save the WhatsApp number (+91 7948058218) in their contacts. Once they access the message, the bot will greet them with a welcome message and ask them to choose from available options depending on the information they need. The bot is available in English and Konkani currently.

“In a country like India, which is home to a population of over 100 million senior citizens who are especially vulnerable, timely dissemination of verified information, education and avoiding fake news are a must during a public health emergency. Cobot-19 is our attempt at dispelling myths and ensuring that people stay aware of the latest developments in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic and know who to approach. We are the only country after Singapore to have launched such a chatbot at this scale and, if successful, we aim to replicate it at the national level as well,” said Meena Ganesh, MD and CEO, Portea Medical.

Published on March 19, 2020
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.