Bespoke has launched artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot adviser Bebot for informing passengers about the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak.

The outbreak, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has so far killed 638 and infected 31,428 people in 28 countries.

Based in Japan, Bespoke develops multilingual AI solutions for the travel and tourism industry. Sendai International Airport, the Tokyo Metro and Sofitel Hotels & Resorts are among Bespoke’s customers.

Bebot offers information in English, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese and can be accessed using any mobile device.

Passengers can ask the chatbot different health and virus-related queries, including symptoms, preventative measures and treatment procedures.

It can also share the latest news about the pandemic, statistics, transmission rates and government contact information.

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The company stated that government and health institutions can use the Bebot platform to engage and inform travellers and residents about the pandemic.

This kind of engagement is expected to help in limiting the spread of the virus, the company claims.

The technology can aid in detecting the virus hotspots and will offer information to the government partners.

Speaking about what motivated the company to create the chatbot, Bespoke CEO Akemi Tsunagawa said: “When the devastating earthquake hit Japan on 11 March 2011, I was on the 20th floor of a high-rise. Monitors started falling, and as I hid under a desk, I tried calling my mother but the phone lines were down. Not knowing what would happen next, this became the longest 15 minutes of my life.

“From my personal experiences of that disaster, I wanted to create a service that can assist people in the middle of any emergency. I empathise with people’s fears and the need to receive immediate and accurate information wherever they are.”