Wellington, April 2, 2020
The New Zealand government has launched a WhatsApp channel to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19.
Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can be found at covid19.govt.nz/whatsapp
The Current function includes (a) Latest updates and news (b) Latest case information (c) COVID-19 symptoms (d) What financial support is available (e) Things people need to do to unite against COVID-19.
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said that people are craving access to timely, accurate information and that WhatsApp is another way of providing service by harnessing technology.
“Our priority is to keep New Zealanders safe and get them the information they need to protect themselves and their loved ones. A part of staying well is looking after our mental health and hence I am particularly pleased that Govt.NZ encourages people to share stories using #BeKindNZ. I want to acknowledge the role the private sector has played in this development,” she said.
Ms Ardern said that now, more than ever, is a time for public and private sectors to work together as we unite to help keep New Zealanders safe and to protect their businesses and jobs.
Health Minister David Clark said that it is vital that people get access to official health information to help in the fight against COVID-19.
“This is another way we can help keep New Zealanders informed so that they can make the right choices for themselves and their loved ones. When it comes to people’s health, accurate and timely information is critical and this will help provide that,” he said.
While the Channel is currently in English only, but the government plans to add Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Mandarin and Hindi versions shortly and later Cook Island Maori and Fijian languages