CayBot-19 answers Cayman’s coronavirus questions over WhatsApp

Even with daily press briefings and a constant flow of news updates, questions about the coronavirus seem endless. With the crisis and regulations constantly evolving, it can be hard to keep up from one day to the next.

To assist Cayman Islands residents in navigating the sea of COVID-19 news, Code Cayman has developed a chat bot that can answer basic coronavirus inquiries via WhatsApp.

To activate CayBot-19, cellphone users should add +1(415)523-8886 to their phonebook and open WhatsApp. Message ‘join win-due’ to launch the bot and then type ‘hi’. From there, users are ready to begin interacting.

CayBot-19 features several categories of questions – latest statistics, news, quarantine tips, virus facts, World Health Organization recommendations and travel queries. It includes links to the latest local press briefings and public health regulations.

The project aims to answer frequently asked questions and avoid misinformation by collating information from reliable sources. All the information included in the bot’s response comes from the World Health Organization, the Cayman Islands government and the Cayman Compass.

Brandon Caruana

Brandon Caruana, a Code Cayman mentor from Cartan Group, said the idea for CayBot-19 came about when regular coding classes were temporarily suspended due to the lockdown. A group of mentors with a company called Peer Islands started building the bot and then came together with Code Cayman engineers to launch a beta product.

“They wanted to have a single source of information that pulled everything together,” Caruana explained.

“There’s just a database in the backend. We just update it with the information and then anytime somebody presses one of the menu items, then it just pulls that fresh information and sends it out.”

The concept and interface are simple, but part of CayBot-19’s inspiration takes aim at the major issue of coronavirus misinformation.

“This is the truth. This is it as it is, right from the source. No opinions on it. Just facts,” Caruana said.

For those interested in picking up some new skills during the lockdown, Cayman Code Academy is now back in operation, with classes being offered online. Places are limited. Financial assistance is available to those who need support to participate.

To learn more about Code Cayman or CayBot-19, visit https://www.codecayman.com.

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.

Donate