Illustration: Freepik.com

The coronavirus is checking the country’s preparedness and response to an emergency, from the public health system to information exchange. 

As the coronavirus spreads, so too are innovations to combat it. Not only is technology making life in quarantine more livable for millions of people, but it is also helping to fight the virus.

1. Our phones: Smartphones play a critical role in reducing exposure. Delivery applications offer contactless delivery, where drivers deliver food to a specific location. Meanwhile, mobile payment applications reduce the transfer of paper money, which can carry viruses for up to 17 days. With electronic wallets and mobile payments, technology helps slow down the spread of coronavirus.

2. Infodemic: As the virus began to appear in headlines around the world and false information was spreading, the WHO called it "infodemic". Yet while technology has facilitated misinformation, it is also helping to curb it.  

3. Education and parents’ sanity: After weeks of schools being closed, possibly the biggest challenge for parents is keeping children occupied and continuing their schoolwork. For this purpose, online learning platforms were introduced, where students take courses and teachers give lectures from home using real-time platforms. 

4. Electronic medical and psychological assistance: from hypertension to arthritis, people still have many other medical needs. Express delivery of medicines is increasing as people avoid hospitals. You can also take online psychological counseling - to counteract the stress caused by social distance.

5. Uniting people: Forced quarantine has disrupted daily life and limited social interaction for almost a fifth of the world's population. This has led to millions of people meeting instead of on the Internet. Families are having lunch with relatives in remote cities. Even weddings are held in virtual reality.

6. Big data: Transparent and accessible public data have made it easier to develop online maps to track the spread of the virus. This time, online maps are created not only by United Nations organizations such as WHO but also by smaller organizations and businesses that contribute. Users can easily access these updates in real-time.

While the use of technology has sometimes fuelled discussions about privacy and protection of personal data; in the fight against coronavirus, it plays a critical role in providing treatment, information, support, schooling, and safety for people.

 

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