COVID-19: Tech efforts Indian government and other companies have made so far
Here is a compilation of all the COVID-19 based tech-based services launched by the government of India and other authorities or companies in the past few weeks.
Ever since the coronavirus outbreak in India, the government authorities have taken several steps across India to curb the spread and make residents aware about the COVID-19 virus. With several initiatives at place it can be confusing for someone as to where to look for right information and what services can they use easily. So, here is a compilation of all the COVID-19 based tech-based services launched by the government of India and other authorities or companies in the past few weeks.
This location-based app by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is in beta and is listed on the Google Play Store. It will be coming to iOS as well. The app uses the smartphone's location to track the user and check if they've come in contact with a Covid-19 positive person. It would reportedly require you to make an account and will require access to phone's GPS.
Google SOS alert in search in India
The search giant's SOS alert feature now shows a detailed dashboard whenever people search for coronavirus-related news on Search. This coronavirus dashboard is customised for different countries based on where people are searching from. It can be seen on the right side when using Search on desktop. On mobile, the dashboard will appear on top along with the Search results. In India, users will see the first tab for help and information with links to the website of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Government launches coronavirus chatbot
The new coronavirus chatbot called MyGov Corona Helpdesk on Whatsapp answers citizens' queries around the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It has been made by Relaince Jio and Haptik. You can access the newly launched chatbot by sending a Whatsapp message to the number +91 9013151515. This includes necessary precautionary measures, symptoms, correct and incorrect facts, helpline numbers, affected cases in the region, government advisories (including travel), informational videos etc.
Wikipedia now shows COVID-19 information in multiple languages
Wikipedia has started providing information to people in nine Indian languages including Hindi, Bangla, Tamil, Bhojpuri, Arabic, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Urdu. For information, the website has partnered with Swastha, which is a branch of a much larger Wikipedia group, WikiProject Medicine, that includes doctors and experts from around the world.
Flipkart, Zomato and others are operating in India
Talking about services, e-commerce firms like Amazon, Grofers, Flipkart, Milkbasket and others are operating in India during coronavirus outbreak. Although you may not get the non-essential items, some basic items will be available with most of them. You can also order food from Zomato, Swiggy or use services like Dunzo during these times.
Google's YouTube will show information on homepage
Users in India can see YouTube showing COVID-19 related information on its homepage to direct users to WHO or local authoritative organisations. It will also be donating ad inventory to governments and NGOs in the regions that are impacted.
Twitter banning those who spread misinformation about coronavirus
Twitter has announced that it will be banning users who are spreading misinformation about COVID-19 on the platform. This includes information on fake treatments, rumours on other related diseases and more.
Facebook is also curbing the spread of misinformation
Facebook already took steps to curb the spread of misinformation and show authentic info on the coronavirus on its platform. The page will be seen on top of the news feed and will include amplifying tips and best practices from the WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on issues like social distancing and hand washing and more.
Google and Apple have separately removed fake coronavirus apps from app stores
Both the tech giants have taken steps to remove mischievous apps to fight new coronavirus-related misinformation on their app stores. While Apple has removed all coronavirus-related mobile software not from recognized health organizations or the government, Google has stopped throwing results if anyone search about coronavirus on its Play Store.
Reliance Jio, Airtel and BSNL change caller tunes to make people aware
Recently, Reliance Jio, Airtel and BSNL started alerting users about the outbreak with a caller tune that one will hear when making a call to the other person within or outside the network. However, this can be cancelled by tapping any key on the handset's keyboard. This move comes after the the government asked telecom companies to make their users aware about the preventive measures about the virus outbreak.
India gets a 24x7 helpline for aid
The Indian government has set up a 24X7 helpline that will answer all your queries about the novel coronavirus (nCov). If you don't know what the symptoms are or if you want to know about the nearest hospital to go to for a check, here's who you call - 011-23978046. The call centre will direct suspected cases to experts in their area and will also be monitoring details of passengers provided by the Ministry of External Affairs.
WhatsApp joins hands with WHO for a dedicated coronavirus page
WhatsApp in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and UNDP launched its "Coronavirus Information Hub". The page has a link to verified fact-checkers from different parts of the world along with their contact numbers. In India, WhatsApp has listed organisations like AFP, Alt News and India Today.
Apple and Google's own coronavirus website
Both the tech giant has launched their own websites to make more users ware about Coronavirus. While Apple's website has a screening test based on the replies you give for the questions, Google's website is an information hub with search results, YouTube videos and more.