As of today, over 1200 have been reported sickened by coronavirus across China. Supposedly a time of family reunion, the Chinese government has cut off all forms of outbound transportation of 15 cities to quarantine over 40M citizens in heavily infected regions.
While the coronavirus outbreak has changed the way we celebrate Chinese New Year, technology has changed the way we combat infectious diseases.
Online diagnosis services
The early stage of coronavirus infections includes flu-like symptoms, such as coughing, fever, and running nose. However, the majority of the patients who visited hospitals with these symptoms are in fact not infected with the coronavirus. Such visits could expose patients to other coronavirus carriers and bring unnecessary workload to over-worked doctors.
Online medical service platform such as Dingxiangyisheng (丁香医生), Haodaifuzaixian (好大夫在线)，Pinganhaoyisheng (平安好医生)，Weiyi (微医) have launched online diagnose services specifically for coronavirus-like symptoms to avoid false-positive visits to hospitals.
Map of qualified clinics for fever treatment
Due to the infectious nature of infectious diseases, not all hospitals in China are qualified to treat patients with a high fever. WeChat, Baidu Map and AutoNavi Map have released clinic information that covers 103 cities and over 3000 clinics. Patients can now find designated hospitals that are qualified to treat fever and coronavirus on their phones.
The power of social media
To educate 1.4B people on how to prevent infection in the shortest amount of time possible, Kuaishou has launched a new channel, “Coronavirus Prevention.” Governments and experts can effectively communicate the latest findings and news regarding the outbreak. The channel has accumulated over 2B views so far.
Dingxiangyuan, as the largest community of medical professionals in China, has taken on the role to update outbreak news every hour. With its existing reputation as a medical professional platform, it has also put together articles to break the popular myth of disease prevention.
In the meanwhile, hospitals in Wuhan are calling medical equipment donation on Wechat and Weibo. Logistics companies have opened designated delivery services to deliver donations from across China to hospitals in Wuhan.
Price regulation for masks on e-commerce platform
Taobao has released policies to forbid price inflation on medical equipment such as N95 masks on the platform. People from near 300 Tmall-covered cities can order hand sanitizers and facial masks during holiday at regular prices.
In recent years, “China speed” has been what China is known for. I am once again amazed by how Chinese technology companies respond to such a crisis. Though Chinese technology companies are sometimes portraited as “unethical” and “inhuman” by western media due to their past privacy invasion and 9-9-6 work culture (working 9AM to 9PM six days a week), Chinese tech companies have demonstrated what they consider corporate social responsibility during a national crisis like the coronavirus.