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Helping organizations provide real time information about COVID-19 with Microsoft Power Virtual Agents

Conversational AI can play a role in quickly addressing the needs of your key audiences and ensuring easy access to the information they need. In turn, by automatically handling routine tasks, answering questions at scale, and even taking actions on behalf of your users, chatbots can allow staff to focus on more complex tasks where their skills and attention may be better applied.

Last month, we shared step-by-step guidelines and best practices for creating a Crisis response FAQ bot with Power Virtual Agents to easily help you address common questions from your audience. Identifying the most pertinent topics to support, designing the interactions between user and chatbot for optimal user experience, and publishing the chatbot were among some of the areas covered on the blog.

This blog will focus on how you can use Power Virtual Agents to create a Crisis FAQ bot, which integrates the guidelines from the previous blog and then combines the no-code bot authoring experience with some slightly more advanced features to connect to live data sets for up-to-date information. Try out the chatbot for yourself below.

In the chat window, try typing e.g. “Why is it called coronavirus?” or “How many active cases are there?”


COVID-19 Assistant
Powered by Microsoft Power Virtual Agents

Behind the scenes – Taking a look inside the bot

To quickly build out the knowledge base of the bot, we’re using the Topic Suggestion feature pointing to available online resources from reputable sources like the CDC, the WHO, and Johns Hopkins to extract dialog content so that the bot can answer questions about e.g. what the coronavirus is or what the common symptoms are.


We’ve also added support for the chatbot to access live data about the number of COVID-19 cases. We do this by leveraging a flow from Power Automate to match the user’s location input to lat/long coordinates which in turn are submitted to a Bot Framework skill that queries data from the Bing COVID-19 Tracker at The tracker integrates data sources from around the world. We then aggregate that data and add latitude and longitude information. We announced recently that we are now making this dataset available to researchers and those in academia at or GitHub.

In the screenshot of the Power Virtual Agents bot authoring canvas above, we can see how the bot author is testing the execution of the flow to make sure that it returns the expected value for ‘Denmark’ from

Scale up and streamline information

We know that many organizations are struggling with keeping up with increased demand for critical services while adapting to a complex new work environment. If your organization needs to scale up and streamline information with your key audience, we hope this demonstration is a useful illustration of how advanced features in Power Virtual Agents can quickly connect to live data sets for up-to-date information.

The no-code bot authoring experience available within Power Virtual Agents empowers content owners to build and deploy their own bots independently and can serve as an enabling tool for your organization as you maintain focus on addressing new challenges. Begin creating your Crisis Response FAQ Bot today using our guidelines and stay tuned for examples we will share in the coming days of customers who have been relying on Power Virtual Agents to respond rapidly to audience needs at scale.

(Editors Note: If you want to see a video of this being created please see: )




Any chatbot, chatbot topic, and/or guidance on chatbot creation that Microsoft provides herein is a sample only and may be used for dissemination of reference information only. The sample (1) is not intended or made available as a medical device for the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or otherwise to be used as a component of any clinical offering or product, and no license or right is granted to use the sample for such purposes, (2) is not designed or intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or judgment and should not be used as a substitute for, or to replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or judgment, and (3) should not be used for emergencies and does not support emergency calls. You are solely responsible for your use of the sample (including incorporation of it into any product or service intended for medical or clinical use) and for explicitly providing end users with appropriate warnings and disclaimers pertaining to your use of the sample. You are solely responsible for any personal injury or death that may occur as a result of your use of the sample, including (without limitation) any such injuries to end users.