Chatbot to fight misinformation around COVID-19, vaccines

The Health Department has launched a chatbot, an automated software that simulates human interaction, to fight disinformation around COVID-19, especially vaccines.

Lt. Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, who launched ‘Chitti’, an automated bot to help users with authentic information about various aspects of COVID-19 on Monday, said the facility available on WhatsApp mumber 7598877833 was created with the help of the National Informatics Centre to counter inaccurate or half-baked notions about the coronavirus going around on social media.

Misleading information about Corona on various social media platforms have caused confusion and fear among the people. Such false narratives stood in the way of effective implementation of the preventive measures of the government, she said.

The bot platform that has been launched would provide the people with right information. The public can now access the correct information about COVID-19 situation in Puducherry, nearby vaccination and testing centres, availability of beds in hospitals, etc. 

T. Arun, Health Secretary, Abhijit Vijay Chaudhary, Secretary to Lt. Governor and Director of Health S. Mohan Kumar participated in the launch at the Raj Nivas.

Later, during a media interaction, the Lt. Governor said the government was taking all measures to protect the interests of mediapersons by declaring them frontline workers for administration of vaccines. 

Shortly, various welfare schemes will be implemented in the Union Territory through the Red Cross Society and the activities of the society will be widened for a larger and deeper outreach.

The lockdown measures with a few relaxations had been designed to balance safety and economic interests of self-employed ensuring means for their livelihood. Coronavirus cases have considerably declined and in the newly-extended phase of lockdown, self-employed services like maintenance services have been exempted from restrictions, the Lt. Governor said.

On Tuesday, the Lt. Governor who inaugurated a street corner vaccination camp on MG Road, said further relaxations to lockdown would be considered if there was continued reduction in the caseload.

Similar vaccination camps would be held across the region with the support of constituency legislators.

"There is adequate stocks of vaccines and efforts had been initiated to procure more on the basis of offtake. I urge the public to avail of the opportunity to get vaccinated without delay," she said.

Anibal Kennedy, MLA and health officials were present. She also distributed Covid relief materials donated by Rotary Club and Industries Department to sanitary workers and autorickshaw owners at the Raj Nivas.

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